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What is a brain injury

What is an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)?

An acquired brain injury, or ABI, is damage to the brain that was not present at birth and is non-progressive. The two categories of ABI are traumatic and non-traumatic.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) can be as a result of:

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Assaults
  • Falls
  • Penetrating or open head injuries
  • Sports injury or concussion

Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries include:

  • Stroke
  • Brain Tumours
  • Brain Aneurysms
  • Brain infections
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Seizures

Brain injuries that are present at birth (congenital brain injury) and brain conditions that are degenerative, such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis are not classified as acquired brain injuries

The Effects of an ABI 

Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, the consequences of a brain injury can range from quite subtle, to permanent cognitive and physical impairments and personality changes. It's no surprise that it can be a frightening and worrying time for those who experience a brain injury, and for their family and friends.

Who does it affect?

Brain Injury can happen to anyone at any time during their lives. Brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability in young people. People aged between 15-29 years or age are three times more likely to get a brain injury than any other groups.

Irish Statistics about Brain Injury

Currently, there are no official statistics for the number of people living in Ireland with a brain injury. By studying data from a number of other countries and basing it on the Irish population, we estimate that between 9,000 and 11,000 people sustain a traumatic brain injury annually in Ireland with a further 8,000 being diagnosed with a stroke.

How does a brain injury affect people?

Many people with a brain injury make a good physical recovery. For some people what changes is the way they think and feel, how they talk to, and relate to others, their memory, and how they experience the world. Some of these changes may only be obvious to close family and friends. This is why acquired brain injury is known as a ‘hidden disability’ and can bring the injured person and their family many hidden challenges. This means that brain injury doesn’t just happen to one person – it happens to a whole family. At Quest we believe we can help support people to get back on their feet whether that means becoming more independent, making informed decisions or getting back to work or education.

Visit www.acquiredbraininjury.com for more information on Acquired Brain Injury.