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Brain Injury Victim Launches Guide for Fellow Sufferers

An East Finchley man who suffered serious brain injuries in an horrific head-on car crash has launched a new Handbook aimed at helping others in the same situation.

Jonathan Smallman, aged 40, launched the book on behalf of Rehab UK, the charity which helps people to rebuild their lives and become employed again.

As the Editor of the Handbook, Jonathan said he was “honoured” to be involved in an initiative aimed at helping other victims of brain injury and their families.

He said: “Known as the hidden disability, brain injury can be devastating for the victims themselves and for everyone around them.

“My accident had a devastating impact on my life. I was reaching the end of my training at Sandhurst to become an officer in the army when it happened. I suffered severe brain injury and was unconscious and on a ventilator for two weeks. When I came round I had the mental capacity of a young child – it took me years to come to terms with the crash. I needed both physical and brain injury rehabilitation.”

Jonathan eventually managed to rebuild his life and four years ago discovered Rehab UK.

He said: “I had completed a media & drama degree in the mid 90’s but knew that I wouldn’t make it as an actor, so I looked to use my media skills in other ways.

“After doing some research I found out about Rehab UK. The charity helps people who have suffered brain injuries find their confidence. It helps them rebuild their lives, gives them a sense of identity and independence, and helps them to find employment.

“TheHandbook will bring vital hope and knowledge to victims of brain injury and their families, and I am delighted to be here to launch it today,” he added. “Rehab UK has Brian Injury Centres in London (SE1), Birmingham and Newcastle where specialist rehabilitation teams provide the training programmes that enable people with disabilities caused by brain injury to return to work and education, helping them to become socially and economically independent.

Ms. Behjat Hurren, Centre Manager at Rehab UK, said the Handbook is a valuable source of advice and reference surrounding brain injury and rehabilitation.

She said: “We have tried to make sure this Handbook, available freely thanks to our sponsors Irwin Mitchell, covers everything that patients, their family, carers and friends might need – even the professionals involved in these cases will find it relevant.

“The structure of the Handbook reflects the progressive nature of a brain injury and the recovery process.

“We look at the definition of brain injury and how the brain works, the injury itself, likely consequences, recovery process, rehabilitation and return-to-work.

“There is also a section on compensation and legal claims.”

The Rehab UK Brain Injury Handbook was written by a team of experts following extensive and detailed research. Copies are free of charge and available from the centre.

Every year more than one million people attend hospital in the UK as a result of brain injury. Without help form organisations like Rehab UK, 85 per cent of these people may face a lifetime of unemployment.

For more information about the charity visit www.rehabuk.org or contact 0207 378 0505

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