According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 1 million people are affected by cases of traumatic brain injury per year. It’s a growing public health issue that affects people of all ages. Today an Advisory Council that addresses just that was held in Fort Kent on the UMFK Campus. It was a round table discussion over shared experiences and stories; all pertaining to brain injury. With some who have been affected, their families,and rehabilitation experts. Bob Sirois was affected just over a year ago after a skiing accident.
Bob Sirois of Fort Kent said, “Barely moving you know I was just getting off the lift in the morning it was just my first run, and I don’t know if I was going 3 miles an hour when the whole thing occurred, I just, my pull got caught and I fell right on my head.”
It was a moment that happened in an instant, that he says changed his life.
Co-chair of the Maine Brain Injury Advisory Council Kelley Mactague said, “There’s so many ways that people can acquire a brain injury, from falling out of a tree when your 5 years old to slipping on the ice the biggest causes of brain injury in Maine are slips and falls and vehicle accidents.”
One important safety precaution people can take to avoid potential brain injury is to wear a helmet when riding things like bicycles and motorcycles.
Bob Sirois of Fort Kent said, “You got to wear a helmet, I’m telling you, this is severe conditions that can occur after you have a fall without a helmet on, and I thank god that I had a helmet on that day because I wouldn’t be here to talk about it.”
There’s a long laundry list of after affects that result from brain injury; including short term memory loss, confusion, and the inability to handle stressful situations and emotions.
Co-chair of the Maine Brain Injury Advisory Council Kelley Mactague said, “Brain injury is a lonely disability, you look normal on the outside and there’s a lot going on that’s not normal on the inside, or not normal for what they’re used to.”
Which is one of the reasons why this Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council was held Thursday; to promote public awareness of brain injuries, discuss how the state’s brain injury neuro rehabilitation system can be enhanced, and to strengthen family and peer support.
Brain Injury Advisory Councils like the one held in Fort Kent today are also held statewide; 3 others are being held this year in Machias, Waterville, and Lewiston.