Brain Injury and Stroke Research Study

Dr. Deirdre Dawson, Senior Scientist at Rotman Institute, Baycrest Hospital is running a research study approved by Canadian Institutes of Health Research. It involves giving rehabilitation to survivors of brain injury, stroke and aneurysms.



Concussions in Girls

Concussion in girls (Medfield Press)

By Pat Ladew, May Institute

Wicked Local Medfield

Posted Nov 03, 2012 @ 08:57 AM

Q: Is it true that girls who play high school sports are more at risk for sustaining concussions than boys?

A: A recent study conducted at MedStar Research Institute and published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine examined three high school sports that are most similar for boys and girls — basketball, soccer and baseball/softball — and reported that girls consistently suffered twice as many concussions as boys.

Several factors may contribute to this statistic, including gender differences in head size and neck strength and girth, and the fact that girls may be more likely to report injuries.

Investigators noted that although boys’ football and lacrosse had the highest number of concussions — and football had the highest concussion rate — the concussion rates observed in girls’ sports are similar to or higher than those of boys’ sports.

Girl’s soccer had the most concussions and the second-highest incidence rate for concussion of all 12 sports that were studied. The next highest number of concussions in girls’ sports occurred in cheerleading, basketball and lacrosse, respectively.

Concussion: A mild brain injury

“Concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury — also called a ‘TBI’ — caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head,” explains Gary Pace, Ph.D., supervising psychologist for May Institute’s school for children and adolescents with brain injury.

“Approximately 300,000 sports-related concussions occur annually, and more than 60,000 of those occur in high school contact sports,” he says.

The MedStar study reported an annual 16.5 percent increase in concussions over the past decade in both boys’ and girls’ sports, with a substantial increase beginning in 2005.

“This is an alarming trend and one that athletes, parents, coaches and medical professionals must take seriously,” Dr. Pace says. “Few people realize how pervasive sports concussions have become, especially in younger and in female athletes.”
Diagnosing concussion

According to the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, concussion can be difficult to diagnose, especially if an athlete never loses consciousness and does not exhibit obvious symptoms. Neurological exams such as CAT scans (computerized axial tomography), MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) or EEGs (electroencephalograms) cannot always detect mild brain injuries. Neuropsychological testing is one of the most effective ways to identify concussion.

Athletes with concussion may experience a wide variety of cognitive, emotional and physical problems. Common symptoms include:

  • Headache or nausea
  • Balance problems or confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Double or fuzzy vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Sluggish or foggy feeling
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Memory problems

Parents and coaches may notice that the athlete:

  • Appears dazed, stunned or confused
  • Moves clumsily
  • Forgets events prior to play or after being hit
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Shows behavior or personality change

It is important to note boys and girls who have concussions may experience different symptoms. A study published in 2010 in the Journal of Athletic Training found that although the most common symptom of concussion for both sexes is headache, boys and girls complained of different secondary symptoms. For example, boys were more than twice as likely than girls to report amnesia as one of their symptoms; girls were three times more likely than boys to complain of sensitivity to noise after being hit in the head.

“Learning the facts about concussions — including what signs and symptoms to watch for in girls and boys – is the first step in protecting these youngsters from permanent brain damage or death,” Dr. Pace says. “Any athlete who has experienced a TBI — even a mild one — needs prompt attention and rehabilitative treatment in order to recover fully.”

Dr. Gary Pace is senior vice president of May Institute’s neurorehabilitative services and supervising psychologist for the Institute’s school for children and adolescents with brain injury in Brockton, Mass. He can be contacted at 508-588-8800.

mTBI Not Black and White

Here are a few highlights from a recent presentation by Dr. Shawn Marshall.

From Clinical Guidelines for the Care of Persisting Symptoms after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury                                                   By Shawn Marshall MD MSc FRCPC

Epidemiology of mTBI

  •       80-95% of TBIs classified as mild
  •       Typical estimated incidence of 100-200/100,000
  •       Estimated as high as 600/100,000 (even 1200)
  •       In Ontario, mTBI cases presenting to Family Physician first is estimated to be 67-118/100,000
  •      Overall incidence of mTBI in Ontario, 493-654/100,000
  •       Men age 15-24 most common
  •       90% of mTBI patients will have resolution of symptoms by 7-10 days

Why Does mTBI Matter?

  •       10 to 15% of mTBI patients will continue to experience significant symptoms beyond the normal recovery period of 3 months-(controversial number – dependent upon mechanism of injury; how incidence is captured)

Symptoms can include:

  • Post-traumatic headache
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Disorders of balance
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Fatigue
  • Mood disorders

mTBI Controversy

  •       Definition and diagnostic criteria for mild TBI and concussion controversial (No agreement on Post Concussion syndrome)
  •      Number with persisting symptoms and diagnoses post injury remains controversial
  • Sport vs MVC injury
  •       May not seek medical attention at time of injury
  •       Non specific symptoms/overlap with many other diagnoses
  •       Symptoms may be subtle e.g. cognitive
  •      No specific diagnostic test

Persisting Symptoms and Complications post mild TBI


  • Headache, dizziness, auditory, visual, balance, fatigue, light sensitivity


  • Memory, attention and concentration, information processing speed, abstraction, problem solving

 Psychological, Behavioural

  • Depression, anxiety, PTSD, irritability, agitation, apathy

Mississauga Support Group Presentation

Art therapist, Jodie Godfrey

Wednesday November 21, 2012


Loblaws Heartland Market, 5970 McLaughlin Rd.,The Cooking School,

(Upstairs- accessible by elevator), Mississauga

Art therapist, Jodie Godfrey was trained at Concordia University, receiving a Masters of Arts.  After Concordia, she was employed at a large Forensic Hospital and worked there for seven years. For the past five years, she has been working at CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) Halton Region as a case manager. 

Definition of Art Therapy

(American art therapy association) Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artist self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior  reduce stress, increase self-esteem and achieve insight. Art therapy integrates the fields of human development, visual art and creative process with models of counselling and psychotherapy. Art therapy is used with a wide variety of population to assess and treat the following: anxiety, depression and other mental and emotional problems and disorders; substance abuse and other addictions; family and relationship issues; abuse and domestic violence; social and emotional difficulties related to disability and illness; trauma and loss; physical, cognitive, neurological problems; and psycho-social difficulties related to medical illness. Art therapy programs are found in a number of setting including hospitals, clinics, public and community agencies, wellness centers, educational institutions, businesses, and private practices.

16th Annual Holiday Dinner & Dance

16th Annual Holiday Dinner & Dance
Friday November 30, 2012
Banquet Royale in Mississauga

It is my pleasure to invite you to our 16th Annual Holiday Dinner and Dance for ABI survivors, their families and friends, advocates and professionals. As in years past BIAPH plans to host another evening of celebration and companionship. Thanks to our generous sponsors, we are pleased to be able to offer a subsidized ticket price for our members. Once again, our party will be held at:


We are currently seeking your generosity for donations to our silent auction table and door prizes. In addition, we need products suitable for 25 gift bags for distribution to our survivors. Please feel free to contact our office for further information.

BIAPH invites your company, employees and family members to participate in the event. Please complete the registration form to purchase your tickets. BIAPH is asking for your consideration in purchasing a table at the cost of $600 with any unused tickets for donation to our survivors.

Donations to the silent auction and tickets qualify for a Charitable Donation Receipt if requested. Please contact the office for further details. All donations confirmed by November 15, will receive acknowledgement in our event program.

We hope that you will consider supporting BIAPH in this worthwhile community initiative. It truly is a remarkable evening, where so many different stakeholders in the ABI community come together to socialize and celebrate. Please do not hesitate to contact our office for further information.

Thank you very much for supporting our event.

Yours truly,

Brain Injury Association of Peel and Halton

Jorun (Jo) Rucels
Executive Director



BIAPH Support Groups 2012 – 2013

B. I. A. P. H. GROUPS (Brampton, Burlington, Georgetown and Mississauga)

Support groups for those that have suffered an Acquired Brain Injury and their families

Our mission is to:

Provide a safe environment where we can share our stories

  • Provide information from professionals
  • Provide Recreational and Social Activities

For more information please contact us at 905 823 2221 / Toll free: 1 800 565 8594

E-mail:   Web:


Time: 7 PM – 9 PM


2012-Sep-19; Oct-17; Nov-21

Holiday Social Dec-12- Swiss Chalet Location TBD

2013-Jan-16; Feb-20; Mar-20; Apr-17; May-15; Jun-19


Loblaws Heartland Market, 5970 McLaughlin Rd.,The Cooking School,

(Upstairs- accessible by elevator), Mississauga, ON., L5R 3X9


Time: 7 PM – 9 PM


2012– Sep-27; Oct-25; Nov-22;

Holiday Social Dec-13-Swiss Chalet, (Appleby Line & Upper Middle Rd.Burlington)

2013– Jan-24; Feb-28; Mar-28; April-25; May-23; June Meeting date & Location TBD


Fortinos, Community Room, 2515 Appleby Line (at Dundas), Burlington, ON., L7R 3X4


Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM


Starting November 14-2012

Holiday Social Dec-12

2013 -Jan-9; Feb-13; Mar-13; Apr-10; May-8; Jun-12


Fortinos, Community Room, 60 Quarry Edge Dr. (Bovaird & 10), Brampton, ON., L6V 4K2


Time: 7:30 PM – 9 PM


Starting 2013 -Jan-8; Feb-12; Mar-12; Apr-9; May-14; June-11

Location: Real Canadian Superstore, The Community Room – Upstairs

171 Guelph St.Georgetown, ON., L7G 4A1

Adopt a Helmet! After All, June is Brain Injury Awareness Month!

June is National Brain Injury Awareness Month.

The Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, posted a message on the Brain Injury Association of Canada’s Website, stating,

“I encourage all Canadians to learn about the causes, effects and means of preventing brain injuries, and to offer their support to survivors and family members whose courage is truly inspiring. ”


Each June, BIAPH participates in Helmets on Kids-Peel, a venture of the Brain Injury Association of Peel and Halton, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, the Peel Children’s Safety Village, Peel Regional Police, Peel Public Health and Peel District School Board. The kick off event and safety assemblies are held every June to coincide with Brain Injury Awareness Month. This safety initiative raises funds to purchase helmets to donate to schools in the Peel-Halton region. The goal of the project is to donate bicycle helmets and to promote education and awareness on proper bicycle helmet use. The HOK Project has been extended to include Halton.

This June, Ottawa Public Health has launched an Adopt a Helmet campaign to increase helmet use. They have created a mockumentary on You Tube: The Adopt a Helmet campaign portrays helmets as if they were pets available for adoption.

Did you know that for youth aged 10-19, the top sports and recreation injuries requiring an emergency room visit are from cycling, hockey, skiing and snowboarding?

Wearing a properly fitted helmet for recreational sports can reduce the chance of brain injury by 85 per cent.



9th Annual Golf4Yuri

The 9th Annual Golf4Yuri is fast approaching. All proceeds are directed to the Yuri Mutiger Memorial Respite Care Program, which provides much needed caregiver relief to families that support a loved one living with the life altering consequences of an acquired brain injury.

To date, Golf4Yuri has raised $84,000 and we are now getting very close to reaching our goal of $100,000.

Event Details:

  • Saturday May 5th, 2012 at Caledon Golf and Country Club
  • Registration begins at noon
  • Shotgun 1:00pm
  • Dinner 7:30pm
  • Silent Auction and Raffle

To register for the event, visit our event registration page, found here.

Did You Know?

  •  ABI is the number one killer and cause of disability in Canadians under the age of 44
  • Each year, 50,000 Canadians sustain brain injuries;  11,000 of these will die, and over 6,000 will be permanently disabled
  • Head injuries account for 80% of child cycling deaths
  • It is estimated that the direct and indirect costs associated with ABI are $3 billion annually in Canada ($1 billion in Ontario )

Injury to the brain may result from traumatic or non-traumatic events.   Traumatic brain injuries are caused by motor vehicle and bicycle accidents, falls, assaults, and sports-related injuries.  Non-traumatic ABI may be the result of illness (e.g., meningitis, encephalitis) and anoxic events like stroke, aneurysm, cardiac arrest, and near-drowning.  Injury to the brain may also result from tumours, hydrocephalus and substance abuse.

If you are in a position to donate prizes to the silent auction or raffle, please let us know. For organizational purposes, we would very much appreciate if you would let us know the items and approximate value prior to the tournament.

For more information about the Brain Injury Association of Peel and Halton, please visit:

BIAPH receives no public funding. We have to rely on the generosity of our supporters to achieve our mission: To enhance the quality of life for persons in the region of Peel and Halton who are living with the effects of an acquired brain injury through:


Brain Injury Awareness Day- with the Toronto Marlies

The Toronto Marlies have organized a Brain Injury Awareness Day, taking place onSunday March 18, 2012.

Enjoy a discounted rate with over 20% of ticket proceeds funding hockey packages for  individuals affected by brain injury and their families.

Tickets are $25.00 per person.

The Marlies are playing the Chicago Wolves and game time is 3pm at the Ricoh Coliseum at the Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto.

For more info and to purchase tickets contact:

Eric Hansler at 416.263.3908 or

Brain Injury News

BIAPH aims to provide our members and the community with the latest information about brain injuries and brain injury awareness.

Here is this week’s installation of Brain Injury News.

According to the Vancouver Sun, a former bomb expert has developed a device to measure concussion-causing shock data. The Ottawa 67’s junior hockey team has joined forces with a former bomb disposal officer, Danny Crossman, who served with the British Army in Iraq, Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. Crossman now runs Impakt Protective, that has developed a simple, affordable hockey helmet sensor, “The Shockbox”, which instantly alerts team officials or parents, when a player suffers a dangerous blow to the head. The sensor uses Bluetooth wireless technology to send data to subscriber’s smart phones, submits data to a  webbased application. The app then issues a colour-coded message based on the severity of the hit.

An Anti-Inflammatory chemical could prevent stroke damage according to a recent article.  Drugs that block inflammation in the brain could help patients who have a stroke or a brain haemorrhage, according to Manchester scientists at the British Society for Immunology Congress on December 5, 2011. A naturally occurring chemical known as IL-1Ra is used to treat inflammatory conditions and Professor Nancy Rothwell, a neuroscientist at the University of Manchester has found that once it is injected into the brain, it helps to prevent long-term damage caused by too much inflammation. It also markedly improves traumatic brain injury in rodents and has shown promise in stroke patients.

In sports news, Soccer is the latest focal point for brain injuries. Heading the ball (hitting the ball off your head) is now being seen as a cause of head injuries. Israeli researchers are finding that repeatedly ‘heading’ the ball can result in a concussion like injury and impaired cognitive functioning. The researchers presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago and said that in adult recreational soccer games, the ball can travel at speeds of more than 50km/hr, in professional games, it can reach speeds of more than 125km/hr. The researchers said that repetitive headings were the problems, and players who played a lot were at the greatest risk. They established a threshold of 1000-1500 headings a year as the point where injury was most likely to occur. This equates to a couple of times per day for people who play regularly.

Dr. Mayland Chang of the University of Notre Dame is the recipient of an NFL grant, which allows her to study damage from traumatic brain injuries. Her research has been written about in medical journals. Her research focuses on the idea that after a traumatic brain injury, enzymes in the fluid of the brain eventually begin to kill the brain tissue. Her research has isolated an inhibitor, which may prevent the “destined brain damage”. Her goal is to be able to provide a treatment to athletes, which will provide quick-response intravenous solution to the body, essentially to save part of the patient’s brain.

If you or someone you know is a brain injury survivor, visit for a list of services we provide, to read about our events and find out how we can help you and your loved ones.