Dealing with the physical, emotional and mental effects of a concussion is the focus of the day-long workshop — Concussion: A Game Changer, on June 9.
Former National Hockey League player Jesse Wallin and his wife Jenn joined with Canadian Mental Health Association to share their story and to give people the opportunity to hear from experts on the injury.
In 2003, while under contract with the Calgary Flames and playing for the Lowell Lock Monsters of the American Hockey League, Wallin received his sixth and final concussion. It ended his hockey career.
Wallin, now the Red Deer Rebels’ head coach and general manager, said recovery from a concussion is different than, for example, a leg injury where rehabilitation therapy can help.
“One of the most frustrating aspects of a concussion is physically there’s not a real defined route to get better. It’s just rest. It’s not over-exerting yourself,” said Wallin at a press conference on Monday to speak about the workshop.
“It was the better part of three years before I was back to normal,” Wallin said.
“Everything about our life changed, including his personality for a time,” Jenn Wallin said.
“The resources that we felt helped us move along are the ones we wanted to organize to be at the conference.”
Marion McGuigan, CMHA executive director, said concussions are under-recognized until it’s a really serious one.
“Nobody can give you specifics on when you’re going to be better and what better is going to look like for you,” McGuigan said.
CMHA has an acquired brain injury team that works with families to access resources and retrain victims.
The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Frontier Room at Westerner Park. It is aimed at athletes, coaches, people who have experienced concussions, their families, health care professionals, and anyone seeking brain injury information.
Wallin will speak about his experience.
Other presenters include:
• Dr. Martin Mrazik, associate professor and clinical neuropsychologist speaking on Evidence Based Management of Sport Concussions.
• Dr. Peter Wass, clinical neuropsychologist and associate professor at Canadian University College — Traumatic Brain Injury: Path to Recovery and Interventions.
• Derek Robinson, registered psychologist and mental training consultant with the Canadian Sport Centre Calgary — Concussion and the Psychology of Injury in Sports.
• Bob McKenzie, executive director and counsellor at Shalom Counseling Center — Facing Our Fears After an Injury.
To register or for more information call CMHA at 403-342-2266 or visit www.SpeakUpForMentalHealth.com.
Admission is $20 and includes lunch. Funding assistance is available.