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.