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Brain Injury Prevention

Leah Sarich | posted Tuesday, Jun 16th, 2015


Only about 5 percent of people who’ve suffered a severe brain injury will go back to their previous occupation. And in Calgary alone, there are a minimum of 100 of these severe brain injuries each year.

Denise Pelletier is one of those people. She suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2001. What was was supposed to be a fun girls trip to British Columbia changed Denise’s life forever. Denise says she was a passenger on an ATV, alcohol was involved, and she was thrown from the vehicle and she was not wearing a helmet. Denise was airlifted to Calgary. Upon arrival, her family was told she had less than a 5 percent chance of living an independent life if she survived at all.

Fourteen years later, Denise has made a dramatic recovery. She relearned how to walk, talk and read again. She mourned the loss of her former life and created a new one. And she continues to work on her recovery. Denise still lives with cognitive deficits and balance issues and more. But she now works to raise awareness about prevention of brain injuries.

For Brain Injury Awareness Month, Denise and one of her doctors, Dr. Christopher Doig, Head of Critical Care for Alberta Health Services, are trying to create more awareness about how these devastating injuries can be prevented. Dr. Doig says it’s critical to wear a helmet, whether you’re ATVing, cycling, skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling. They also say with ATVing no child under the age of 16 should operate one, get appropriate training, avoid alcohol and drugs when using an ATV, buckle up on the machine and be aware of your surroundings.

Dr. Doig says people always think it will never happen to them. But in fact, it can and it does.

For more information about brain injuries and Denise’s story visit her blog. 


  • Denise Pelletier says:

    Thank you Leah for capturing this so well and helping to increase the awareness of simple steps people can take every day to greatly reduce their odds in becoming part of the statistic. Brain injuries are preventable, predictable and costly and by taking action, we can all make a difference in bringing this number down.

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