Headway: Head injuries could become much worse if not checked out

15 May 2012

Brits are this week being urged to seek medical attention if they suffer any sort of knock on the head, in order to avoid suffering the devastating effects of a brain injury.

Charity group Headway is hoping to raise more awareness about the long-term effects that a head injury can have on a person's health.

That is why the organisation has made the dates from May 14th until May 20th Action for Brain Injury Week. The aim of the initiative is to remind members of the public that the head is a fragile part of a person's body and can be severely damaged from even the smallest of knocks.

National-Awareness-Days.com highlighted this point by acknowledging the tragic death of actress and stage performer Natasha Richardson.

The Brit received a knock to the head in an accident while on a ski lesson on a beginners' slope at the Mont Tremblant resort in Quebec, Canada, in March 2009. Richardson showed no signs of injury immediately after the tumble but was taken to hospital around an hour after upon feeling unwell.

It was later revealed that the actress had suffered from critical injuries, with Action for Brain Injury Week underlining that medical attention should be sought anytime someone begins feeling ill soon after having any kind of accident.

Leading neurosurgeon Chris Chandler echoed this message soon after Richardson's death, stating to BBC News: "A blow to the head can cause a bruise or rupture a blood vessel that slowly swells, causing pressure to build up inside the skull.

"In the skull there is nowhere for the brain to move to so pressure continues to grow and that swelling can cause the brain to malfunction because it can limit circulation. If that pressure is not relieved it can kill."

One career route which is still raising plenty of concern where head and brain injuries are concerned is in physical forms of sport. Two academics have detailed their worries on this topic in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Dr Federic Gilbert and Dr Bradley Partridge disclosed: "There is a medical and ethical imperative for all football codes to minimise the risks of head injuries and concussion among players."

In order to minimise the risks of a head or brain injury developing into something much worse, the academics have called on any player suspected to have a concussion in any sport to be immediately removed from the field and receive a full medical examination by a doctor.

The sportsperson should also not be allowed to return to any form of action until the ill effects of the injury have completely disappeared.

Headway has chipped in on this topic themselves, advising that a helmet should be deemed necessary clothing in any sport where there is a risk of head or brain injuries.

Another part of the Action for Brain Injury Week initiative is to increase the support that carers receive for looking after patients with brain injuries.

This is after a survey by Headway has found that 60 per cent of carers feel they are not receiving adequate support from local healthcare providers and social services departments in order to have an effect on their patients' lives.

In fact, just seven per cent of those surveyed said that they get a helping hand from social workers to undertake necessary duties and only 27 per cent can recall receiving a carer's assessment during their time in work.

On top of this, almost half of the respondents (49.5 per cent) did not even know that they could request an assessment to better their work. This is in spite of it being legally required for healthcare professionals to make their employees aware of the review.

Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway, commented: "This is a shocking failing on the part of local authorities across the UK. Caring for a loved one who has a brain injury can bring significant pressures and strains, and carers need help."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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