Brain Injury - The Basics
What is an Acquired Brain Injury
It is any injury to a person's brain that happens during their lifetime. The injury can be caused by a stroke, a brain haemorrhage, an infection, a tumour, lack of oxygen, or a fall or other accident, for example.
See also a list of information sheets on brain injury here.
What Causes Acquired Brain Injury?
It can occur as a result of:
- Trauma e.g. traffic or workplace accident, a fall, an assault or a sports injury.
- The effects on surrounding brain tissue that may result from a stroke, brain haemorrhage or brain surgery
- A viral infection occurring in the brain e.g. encephalitis
- Lack of oxygen to the brain (hypoxia)
Who Does it affect?
Brain Injury can happen to anyone at any time during their lives. Brain injury is the foremost cause of death and disability in young people. Those that are between 15-29 years or age are three times more likely to sustain a brain injury than any other groups.
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.
Read our article published in HSE Staff Magazine, Summer 2010
Refer to our factsheet on Consequences of Acquired Brain Injury for a range of possible after effects.
What is it like to have a brain injury?
Take a look at our video series "Living with Brain Injury"
Take a look at "The New Me", a collection of writing by people with brain injury who attended a peer support group in Summer 2010.
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 7,00 being diagnosed with a stroke.
Headway Services can help and support someone with a brain injury and their loved ones to live life with a Brain Injury to its full potential.