G.F. Strong Rehab Centre Acquired Brain Injury Programs

G.F. Strong hosts a number of workshops for suvivors of brain injury and stroke, their family and friends. These workshops provide an open, informal forum in which to discuss and learn about the brain, how it works, and its recovery. Attendees concerns, questions and experiences guide the session.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury: A Workshop for Families & Friends

This open, informal workshop is facilitated by a doctor and educator from the Acquired Brain Injury Program at GF Strong Rehab Centre.

Topics of discussion include:

  • the brain and how it works
  • the many changes that happen after a brain injury
  • practical rehabilitation strategies to help
  • life after brain injury and resources to help you through your journey

September 21, 2011: 6.00 – 9.00pm
November 17, 2011: 6.00 – 9.00pm


Understanding Stroke: A Workshop for Families & Friends

Topics of discussion include:

  • the brain and how it works
  • the many changes that happen after a stroke
  • practical rehabilitation strategies to help
  • life after stroke and resources to help you through your journey

October 19, 2011: 6.00 – 9.00pm
December 15, 2011: 6.00 – 9.00pm


Building Community Connections: A Workshop for Suvivors, Families and Friends

This workshop is facilitated by the Community Intervention Coordinator. The workshop is interactive, with open group discussions, opportunities for sharing and problem solving with others. Survivors and caregivers share their personal journeys and discuss some of the successes and challenges they encountered in returning to the community.

Learn more about:

  • What is community and why is it important to link people with resources in their local community?
  • How do we build community connections?
  • What are some of the available resources in my community?
  • What experiences have others had connecting with resources?

September 14, 2011: 6.00 – 8.00 pm
November 9, 2011: 6.00 – 8.00 pm


GF Strong Rehab Centre
4255 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 2G9
Social Services Seminar Room (#189, main floor)

Do I need to register?
Registration is not needed and these workshops are free to attend, but please contact GF Strong at 604-737-6221 to let them know how many of your family and friends will be attending.

More questions?
For more information please call the GF Strong Educator at 604-737-6221.

Read the latest issue of THE Challenge!

The Brain Injury Association of America authors a quarterly publication, THE Challenge!, which offers readers advice, support and guidance for those who have sustained a traumatic brain injury and their families.

The latest issue of THE Challenge! features several compelling stories including Communication Strategies Following a Brain Injury, Caregiving, Year after Year: How to Ask the Family for Help, and Classifying Brain Injury as a Chronic Disease. Read it online now.

Webster & Associates are proud supporters of Brain Injury Associations across British Columbia. We are proud to provide legal services, guidance and support to survivors of traumatic brain injury and their families.

Observations from the SickKids Centre for Brain and Behaviour Conference

Image of baby with brain injury

SickKids Centre for Brain & Behaviour 2nd Biennial Conference
– Brain Injury in Children

July 12 – 14, 2011 – Toronto, Canada

Day one of the conference was dedicated to a review of issues relating to birth injury and neonatal encephalopathy. We had some excellent speakers involved in leading edge research in this area, many of whom suggest that there is hope for families of babies who will be born with birth asphyxia. New research is showing that treatments like hypothermia, if provided quickly following neonatal injury, reduces neuro-developmental disability in survivors of encephalopathy. The bad news is many hospitals in Canada are still not using hypothermia despite numerous studies showing its effectiveness in decreasing infant deaths and the progression of injuries.

There is continuing controversy around what will be included in the new definitions of encephalopathy – the present ACOG and AAP standards require that an infant suffer from cerebral palsy before that baby will be included. Neuro-imaging is crucial to determine the type of injury and the timing of the injury and will be vital when we try to prove that an infant’s injury occurred during labour and was preventable. Seizures are an ongoing problem. Research has shown that most of the babies with seizures are not recognised as having seizures because they are happening “sub-clinically” and not observable. Those babies still need treatment so that these seizures do not cause further injury. Careful monitoring with EEG’s is required for all babies who are at serious risk of seizures. Visual observation can miss as many as 90 percent of all seizures!

A Run to Remember – brain injury awareness event

Brain injury survivor David McGuire is running a marathon a day across Canada to raise awareness of brain injury.

The New Westminister native sustained a brain injury in 2005 and, although he was told that he may never walk again, David completed his first marathon a year after his injury. Determined to raise awareness of brain injury and brain injury prevention, on April 1st 2011 David began A Run to Remember – an epic, 7 month run across Canada.

“I am not an athlete… I am not a rock star…or the relative of a famous person. I am just a guy with a brain injury – like so many others – but I can run, and I have a story to tell…Some may call me crazy but I am trying to get people talking about brain injury… This run will bring awareness and understanding to the issue of brain injury…”

David is currently making his way through Quebec and will finish in Victoria, BC this October. To find out more about this amazing journey and to track David’s progress visit run to remember.com.

Read a 3 page article on David’s journey from sustaining brain injury to running across Canada in Headline Magazine’s summer edition.

Follow David’s blog: http://r2rcanada.blogspot.com

Fraser Health & Douglas College Brain Injury Film Festival

Roughly 14,000 British Columbians suffer a brain injury each year, and it remains the leading cause of death and disability for people under 45. Some 300,000 Canadians, meanwhile, live with brain injuries caused by stroke. Fraser Health’s Acquired Brain Injury Program and Douglas College hope to bring some light to a little discussed subject with the Brain Injury Film Festival, running every Monday in June.

June 6th: Marwencol

June 13th: Shameless: The Art of Disability

June 20th: Wipeout!

June 27th: The Lookout

Admission is free and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. All films start at 7 p.m. in Lecture Room 2201, Douglas College, 700 Royal Avenue, New Westminster.

To find out more, go to the Fraser Health website.


ThinkFirst Canada combatting head injury in sport

The issue of head injuries in sport has exploded onto the Canadian scene in 2011. The media frenzy caused by the National Hockey League’s biggest star, Sidney Crosby, falling victim to serious concussions grew with the deaths of former NHL and NFL players who suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated blows to the head. Whether sports fans or not, Canadians have clearly heard the message that it’s time to address the serious issue of head injury in sports.

One Canadian organization is doing its part to raise awareness of such sport-related injuries and to educate people on injury prevention. ThinkFirst, founded by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Tator, is a national non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of brain and spinal cord injuries. ThinkFirst has tremendous online resources on safety prevention and, with the help of some well-known hockey players, has recently launched a ‘Smart Hockey’ campaign to educate the public on the symptoms and severity of concussions, particularly in reference to injury prevention in ice hockey.

In addition to their online presence at www.thinkfirst.ca, ThinkFirst has 19 Chapters across Canada, including one in Vancouver. These chapters spread ThinkFirst’s injury prevention messages through school and community presentations with the help of a dedicated group of injury survivors who share their own powerful stories.

Webster & Associates welcomes Kara Naish

Kara NaishWe would like to welcome lawyer Kara Naish to our team.

Kara recently joined Webster & Associates, bringing with her over 10 years of legal experience in the insurance defence field.  Kara left this practice because she truly wanted to assist individuals through the legal process, rather than having corporations as clients.  She also has a very personal connection to brain injury work, having a family member with a congenital brain defect.

Kara has a strong background in personal injury, having defended these claims on behalf of insurance companies for over a decade.  She has appeared at the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal and has had much success in trials before judges and juries. Kara brings to Webster & Associates her invaluable skills in the courtroom and with the litigation process as a whole, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of insurance corporations.  She has witnessed the results of lawyers who did not fully understand the scope of their clients’ injuries and the consequences of those injuries and seeks to make a real difference in the lives of the clients she now represents.

To meet the other members of our team visit the biographies section of our website.


High profile cases draw attention to the prevalence and severity of concussion in professional and amateur athletes.

Sidney Crosby http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_CrosbyEven off the ice Sidney Crosby can’t help but make the headlines.  Since January 5th of this year, the Pittsburgh Penguin’s captain and Canada’s golden boy has been recovering from concussion, after enduring two massive blows to the head only days apart.  Hockey fans, the media, and medical professionals alike are on edge, waiting for the star to recover and wondering what kind of impact this injury will have on the young player’s season and his future career.

More and more medical evidence is showing that concussions (actually a ‘mild traumatic brain injury’), especially multiple concussions, can cause long term problems.  In our practice the most common difficulties are difficulty concentrating, problems with sleep, headaches and cognitive fatigue.

The recent suicide of former Chicago Bears safety, Dave Duerson, has also drawn attention to the long-term damage and persistent health problems that can be caused by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Duerson shot himself in the heart with the hope that his brain would be used to research the long-term effects of concussion on the brain.

Despite the tragedy of Duerson’s suicide and the problems caused to Crosby’s health and career, these cases are drawing much needed attention to an area of brain injury that generally goes unreported or even undiagnosed. The media attention has highlighted to the public, the fact that those involved in amateur and professional sports of all kinds, need to increase their awareness and knowledge of concussions.

Concussion is just another word for brain injury – but people still don’t want to talk about brain injuries.  This is, in part, due to a lack of education, but is also due to the inherent difficulty in treating concussions. In a motor vehicle context, a person may have a “mild” or even “moderate” brain injury, but are discharged from hospital because there is no specific treatment.  Concussions and brain injuries have various symptoms, and can even occur without the person being knocked out.

The real problem, to be discussed in a later blog, is the variable recovery from concussions. I think that most people would realize that you could have Sidney Crosby over for dinner and have a normal conversation with him, while recognizing that we he can’t go to work.  Unfortunately, those we talk to don’t always have that response.  They are often treated sceptically, with comments like “it was just a ding to the head”, or “she can get to appointments, why can’t she go back to work”.  According to scientific literature approximately 15% of people who have received a brain injury have ongoing symptoms, beyond two years after the incident.  We call them the “walking wounded”.  For Sydney Crosby, and the rest of Canada, let’s hope he isn’t part of that unlucky group.

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Related resources:


Welcome to the Brain Injury Law Blog

Brain Injury BlogWebster & Associates is pleased to launch their new blog. This blog is the most recent addition to our ever-expanding list of initiatives directed at providing the highest quality of services to our clients, friends and those professionals  with legal or medical interests in brain injury issues.  We hope that this blog will provoke discussions of current legal, medical and rehabilitation issues related to brain injury.  Occasionally we hope you will find an entertaining or humorous story.

The law firm of Webster & Associates was started by Brian Webster, Q.C.  He took on his first brain injury case before CT’s were regularly utilized.  Both law and medicine have come a long way in their treatment of brain injury since then. The firm focuses on prosecuting brain and spinal cord injuries and pride’s itself on providing effective representation focusing on both rehabilitation, and financial recovery.

In addition to Brian, Webster & Associates is home to several lawyers, including Barbara Webster-Evans and Daniel Corrin. Barbara has a background in medical malpractice claims and over 25 years experience as a lawyer, while Daniel  has been working exclusively in brain injury for over 10 years.

We welcome your comments or suggestions about topics to cover.  Please check back regularly for new posts.

– The Webster & Associates team

Incorporating Not-For-Profit Organizations: Is it worth it?


There are a myriad of groups that support brain injured individuals in this province and they come in all shapes and sizes. Located from Peace River to Port Alberni, these groups must decide how they will structure themselves and run their organizations. Having recently had the pleasure of working with Ms. Tina Suter and her New Westminster support group as it transitioned into a non-profit society called B.R.A.I.N. (Brain Resource Advocacy Information Network), I thought I would share some of the challenges that this group and others might have in deciding on an appropriate structure. While supporting individuals with brain injuries is obviously the goal, sometimes the structure of an organization can assist in achieving that goal, so deciding how to formulate the organization is important.

Read more