BrainTrust Canada game aimed to help kids learn about brain trauma. - Image: Contributed

Play the game, save your brain

“We aim to be inventive when it comes to youth and our prevention programs:” BrainTrust Canada

Okanagan-based, not-for-profit association BrainTrust Canada is launching an innovative game to increase awareness of the seriousness of brain injury among youths aged 11 to 18.

The game, found online at www.protectyourhead.com, has three themes—skateboarding, hockey and workplace safety—all potential risks for brain injury.

The game is described as unique and a hybrid that includes three sections, a retro Mario Brothers-type jumping game, a point-and-click exploratory sequence and an interactive text message stream where youths can choose answers and learn about brain injury.

CREW Marketing Partners (previously GOODSIR Creative) developed the game and all its elements, including the characters.

The company also created the original protectyourhead.com website which launched in 2007.

To test the concept and game, BrainTrust Canada co-ordinated focus groups with youths in the target age group, including students in Okanagan Mission Secondary’s Interact Club and members of the Boys and Girls Club.

“We aim to be inventive when it comes to youth and our prevention programs,” said Magda Kapp, director of communications and prevention services for BrainTrust Canada.

“There is nothing quite like this game, and certainly it’s unique from the standpoint of it being developed from a not-for-profit association. Our hope is that up to 80 per cent of youth in the Okanagan play the new game, learn something along the way, and have the chance to win prizes.”

The launch of the game is accompanied by a contest running until March 19 for youths aged 11 to 18 who live in the Okanagan. There will be five random prize draws for Domino’s pizza for a class, as well as tickets to Kelowna Rockets and Vernon Vipers games during the 2017/18 season. Both the Central Okanagan School District and the school district in Vernon are encouraging students to play the game to learn about the importance of brain injury prevention.

“If we can prevent even one brain injury, it’ll be worth it,” said Kapp, adding the estimated cost for one serious brain injury over a lifetime is in excess of $4 million.

“Not to mention the immense personal costs of a life changed forever.”

The launch of the game will also be accompanied by a “Did You Know” handout sheet for youths in the Okanagan with facts such as comparing a human brain to a computer and its weight to a dolphin’s brain. It also explains that human brains keep developing until age of 25.

“This last point is one of the key reasons why youths are at the highest risk for brain injury,” said Kapp. “Our frontal lobes – responsible for personality, decision making and judgment, are the last part of the brain to form.”

But, with up to 90 per cent of brain injuries being preventable, BrainTrust Canada hopes the new game will bring awareness to an often hard-to-reach target group.

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