Becca Martin


I would like to write a few words on the topic of prevention, something most of us don't think about until it is too late. We are all beginning to understand the significance of riding a bicycle without a helmet, or the frequency of concussion in sports, but brain injury prevention in our day to day lives is not a major concern.

When is the last time you got in your car, snapped on your seatbelt, and then drove off without another thought about what you could do to minimize injuries in an accident? The placement of your seatbelt is very important. Here is a list of things you should be aware of.

There are many other activities, aside from driving, that I would like to mention. One that is significant to me is horseback riding. There are many styles of riding which do not call for a helmet; western and saddleseat, to name a couple. In fact, these styles of riding do not allow for helmets in the show ring. But even if you are not allowed to wear a helmet in the ring, please use a helmet during practice. An injury may not occur because of a fall, but it may occur as a result of hitting an arena wall or being stepped on by a horse. Horses are wonderful, but not always predictable. This advice goes out to all of you on motorcycles as well. Ask your local trauma unit about the percentage of brain injuries they see as a result of motorcycle accidents. You may be a good rider, but that doesn't mean that every car is your ideal companion on the road.

Another sport which is adopting the helmet is skiing. We are beginning to see more and more children with helmets on the slopes, but adults need to be aware as well.

Another area we should all be aware of is the area of pharmaceuticals. Many people are taking drugs which need to build up to certain levels in the brain to work. These drugs change certain chemical compositions. Sometimes people decide they are not going to continue a prescription and just stop without consulting their physicians. Often these type of drugs need to be stopped gradually as to avoid damage to the brain and other problems. If you are taking a drug for depression, chronic pain or sleep disturbance, consult your physician before discontinuing your prescription. This is particularly important for those of you with a brain injury. Keep a pill reminder to avoid over or under dosage.

Other than that, take care of your brain. Eat healthy, get enough rest, drink lots of water. Your brain cells are precious commodities. And make those around you aware of safety.


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