Brain Injury Information



What is Acquired Brain Injury?

An Acquired Brain Injury, sometimes referred to as ABI, is any injury to a person's brain that happens during their lifetime. The injury can be caused by a stroke, a bleed in the brain, an infection, a tumour, a lack of oxygen or a fall, for example.



Brain Injury - Quick Facts

What causes Acquired Brain Injury?

It can occur as a result of:

  • Impact to the head, such as in a traffic or workplace accident, a fall, an assault or a sports injury.
  • 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 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

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 7,000 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.

See also our factsheet "What is ABI?"

 Further information on specific topics

Getting what
you need

See also our guide to services and resources to help with
Getting what you need after a brain injury

Getting what you need map

Early stages and
initial recovery

Fatigue and sleep

Returning home from hospital


Seizures and epilepsy

Recently injured: Starting points



Coping with


Attention and concentration

Planning and organising skills


Moving on



Caring for someone
with a brain injury

Our carer and family guide " Coping with Acquired Brain Injury "

carer and family guide

Research articles

A collection of articles on the latest research in brain injury


f you're not sure where to start, we have a page offering some useful starting points for those who have been recently injured . If you can't find what you're looking for, we might be able to help you with your question. Contact us with your question.


The Brain Injury Series Booklets Booklets

We have produced a Brain Injury Series range of booklets about various aspects of brain injury. These give you some further information and practical ways to live with the consequences of brain injury.

Living with Brain Injury - A Practical Guide

The full set of Brain Injury Series booklets together with the diary/organiser can be purchased from our store at a cost of €10 plus postage and packing

Organisers and Planners to Download or Print

Publication cover - Headway My Organiser

As part of the Brain Injury Series, we have produced a free 2016 Organiser which has useful pages for keeping personal details and your brain injury contacts. There are also useful pages to print including:

  • A Day Planner
  • Task Planner
  • Appointment Planner

You can download these resources here or request copies of the organiser here


What is it like to live with the effects of brain injury?

Take a look at our series of videos of people's accounts of 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.