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'Stop and think' ahead of brain injury awareness week

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Almost 100 Kiwis will suffer a non-sporting traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the next 24 hours, leading to life-changing and debilitating symptoms, according to brain injury advocates.

Falls at home and in the workplace are the leading cause of non-sporting brain injuries for under-35s in New Zealand, with more than 22,000 related ACC claims lodged between 2013-2018. On average, one Kiwi will be affected by a TBI every 15 minutes.

To mark the beginning of Brain Injury Awareness Week (March 18-24), Brain Injury New Zealand has launched its "#Blackout For Brain Injury" campaign, urging New Zealanders to "stop and think" before putting themselves in a potentially unsafe situation.

"A few seconds extra to carry out a task is a lot better than a lifetime suffering with a TBI," says Brett Morris, Brain Injury New Zealand President.

"We need to educate people about the risks from an early age and increase awareness around potential hazards. Kiwis’ natural ‘can-do’ attitude can often lead to taking unnecessary risks, such as standing on a kitchen stool to reach for something or climbing a ladder without setting it properly or having someone hold it for you. Taking the time to get a proper set of steps could save you from an injury that not only affects you, but your whole family."

Brett Morris says a 2010 study projected the direct and indirect costs to the country of traumatic brain injuries was estimated at $260 million per year by 2020.

This week’s Brain Injury Awareness Week will see regional associations holding a variety of fundraising and awareness events around the country, including concerts, fun days and sports events. It is also encouraging businesses and schools to get behind a "blackout" mufti day with staff and pupils wearing black in support of the campaign on Friday 22 March. Funds can be donated to www.givealittle.co.nz/org/brain-injury-nz or to local associations.

With 14 regional associations across the country, Brain Injury New Zealand provides support, advice, direction and assistance to the brain injured and their whanau, helping them navigate their way through the days and often years following an injury.

The organisation also helps to raise awareness regionally through education programmes in schools and workplaces, while also working with sporting bodies to help reduce the incidence of brain injuries in the community.

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