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May
28

Three years ago, Ann Cosgrave went to work like any other day. It was June and she worked full-time as a retail Ann Cosgrave from Wexford shares her story about how she acquired a brain injury after suffering a bleed to the brain suddenly at work. Ann is member of the Clubhouse and women's group in Acquired Brain Injury Ireland's Wexford service.shopping assistant. But on this particular day, everything changed. Ann found she couldn’t work the register. She was muddled and felt strange. She was told later by colleagues that she was rambling and not making sense, talking about someone dying in Eastenders.

Her manager brought her outside for fresh air and when Ann didn’t improve, she wasted no more time and brought her straight to hospital where she underwent tests. Doctors confirmed that Ann had suffered a bleed on the brain, also known as a stroke.

(There are two types of stroke. A stroke can be caused by a clot blocking blood flow to the brain or by a burst blood vessel which results in a brain bleed. One in five people will have a stroke in their lifetime.)

“I had a bleed on the brain while at work. There were no signs, no family history.”

A stroke is so-called because it strikes suddenly, often with little or no warning. Ann was lucky her colleagues acted fast and brought her to hospital. But afterwards, she felt different. She looked and seemed fine on the outside. But on the inside, she was not the same.

“I didn’t want to leave the house. I wouldn’t go anywhere. Looking back, I thought I was happy at home and happy in my own company. That was when Acquired Brain Injury Ireland came to see me. That was one and a half years ago and I’ve been going ever since.”

Thanks to the day services at our Wexford Clubhouse in Rosslare, Ann has built a great network of support through our women’s group where everyone knows each other’s stories. As Ann says herself, It’s not obvious she has had a brain injury. Like many people after stroke and other brain injuries, she finds her memory is affected sometimes and there can be some fatigue.

“I don’t have to explain anything, I can be fully myself.”

She said: “I feel better now that I’m seeing people and getting to know the other women. It’s really nice to come here to the clubhouse where everyone knows about each other. I don’t have to explain anything, I can be fully myself. It gives me really good support and a social network. Plus I really enjoy the activities like sewing and knitting. I’ve even tried my hand at pottery and I really enjoyed that and now I’m half able to do crochet.”

The mum-of-three has become a grandmother for the first time and has already set her sights on a new goal – to crochet a baby blanket with the help of her pals in the clubhouse.

Our Wexford Clubhouse in Drinagh is supported by funding from BNY Mellon and it runs five days a week. Ann joins our women’s group activities every Wednesday and additionally our Clubhouse offers activities to men as well. You can find out more about our day resource services here.

May
21

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland calls for research investment to drive interventions for brain injury survivors to capitalise on the window when the brain can rewire cells.

National #BrainPower Seminar, 18 May 2018:

Silent epidemic: Thousands of lives are devastated in Ireland every year by brain injuries acquired through falls, road collisions, attempted suicides and strokes resulting in a silent epidemic leaving families struggling to cope in every corner of the country, said Acquired Brain Injury Ireland.

According to the national not-for-profit which delivers community and residential services to 1,100 brain injury survivors nationwide in a given year, there is a gaping need for research investment to drive more effective interventions to capitalise on the window of time shortly after injury, when the brain can rewire cells in some parts of the brain.

The latest call for research investment was made at Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s inaugural #BrainPower seminar inviting clinicians nationwide to hear about latest trends in evidence for adjusting to life and delivering interventions for brain injury survivors.

Event hosts Acquired Brain Injury Ireland called for greater research investment to drive interventions for brain injury survivors to capitalise on the window when the brain can rewire itself. A silent epidemic, more than 13,000 people acquire brain injuries in Ireland annually through falls, road collisions, attempted suicide and stroke. According to Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, while there is no cure for traumatic brain injury, it can be managed better and faster with more research into interventions. ABII is Ireland's leading provider of community Rehabilitation for those of working age, living with and recovering from brain injury.

Pictured at the National #BrainPower Seminar focusing on Brain Injury research in Ireland. Front: Dr Brian Waldron, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABII), Claire Johnstone, Speech and language therapist, NRH, Barbara O Connelly, CEO, ABII, Denis Buckley, Chairman, ABII. Back row: Sharon Leahy, Occupational Therapist, NRH, Dr Stephen Walsh, Manchester Metropolitan University, Dr Lorraine Crawley, Senior Clinical Psychologist, ABII.

Barbara O’Connell, Chief Executive with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland said: “Traumatic brain injury is a silent epidemic in this country and while there is no cure for it, we can manage it better and faster with greater research into interventions. The brain injuries we see every day are life-altering, often leaving individuals and their families to cope with severe deficits in memory, communication, physical ability and behavioural difficulties.

According to Ms O’Connell, early intervention is crucial because there is a short period of time after an injury where the brain can rewire some of the cells but other areas of the brain may not get full function back.

As the leading provider of community neuro-rehabilitation for brain injury survivors, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has called for greater clinical research and clinical audit to drive more effective interventions for 13,000 people affected here annually in Ireland.

Ms O’Connell continued: “One day you’re living your life as you know it, and the next, you are waking up in hospital,

Event hosts Acquired Brain Injury Ireland called for greater research investment to drive interventions for brain injury survivors to capitalise on the window when the brain can rewire itself. A silent epidemic, more than 13,000 people acquire brain injuries in Ireland annually through falls, road collisions, attempted suicide and stroke. According to Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, while there is no cure for traumatic brain injury, it can be managed better and faster with more research into interventions. ABII is Ireland's leading provider of community Rehabilitation for those of working age, living with and recovering from brain injury.

Dr Brian Waldron, Senior Clinical Psychologist with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, speaking at the National #BrainPower Research Seminar.

where you may find you can’t walk, speak or remember what happened yesterday. Life doesn’t get any more traumatic than this and it is extremely difficult for anyone to cope with such a sudden change both physically and mentally. More research is crucial so we can increase effectiveness of interventions in the short time period immediately after injury. The more we know and learn, the more progress we can make with neuro-rehabilitation and ensure more people live to their full potential.”

Speaking at Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s research seminar at the Wood Quay venue today, Dr Brian Waldron, Clinical Psychologist said: “Every brain injury is unique and affects people differently. Brain injury can affect cognitive functioning including memory, language expression, visual perception and motor skills. Relationship breakdown can happen and people can lose friends. One individual may become depressed, in fact this happens to 40 percent of brain injury survivors. But then another individual with a similar injury may be positive and proactive to achieve their rehabilitation goals.

“At Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, we are constantly working to a person-centred approach taking account of the whole person and the life they had before injury so we can work with them to help them recover as much quality of life as possible. With more research into interventions, this could open up more opportunities to tap into the potential of brain injury survivors and help them to progress more quickly.”

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is Ireland’s leading provider of community rehabilitation for those of working age (18-65 years) living with and recovering from an acquired brain injury.

For more information or to support Acquired Brain Injury Ireland visit www.abiireland.ie

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May
16

Heading to Australia has always been popular for Irish students and workers, offering the opportunity of a great lifeMichael Hyndman comes home from Australia after two life-changing surgeries and months of rehabilitation. He suffered a brain injury in Australia after assault on New Year's Eve. experience. But for one 23-year-old, his life was turned upside-down when he landed Down Under.

Michael Hyndman jetted off to Oz with his fiancé last September (2017) to take up a new job as a quantity surveyor. But during New Year’s Eve celebrations he suffered a serious brain injury following an altercation which saw him undergo emergency surgery on New Year’s Day.

His family waited by his bedside as he slept in an induced coma, hoping and praying that Michael would wake up. Desperate to do something, his brother Brian set up an online fundraising page which was an urgent cry for help to get his brother home.

And it worked. Now, nearly 5 months later, Michael is finally coming home after two life-changing surgeries and months of rehabilitation.

He said: “There is no doubt in my mind that my recovery has been phenomenal. I don’t think this would have been the case if it wasn’t for my friends, my family, colleagues and the many selfless people who don’t even really know me, yet donated to my cause. Your generosity made it possible for me to have my family at my bedside when I needed it most.”

Every year thousands of Irish apply for visas to work abroad to countries like Australia and beyond. It’s exciting, a new chapter in their lives. But as Michael knows, all it takes is one punch. Michael now wants to use his story to help raise awareness of the importance of walking away from confrontation.

“It was just one punch that started this nightmare 105 days ago and almost cost me my life.”

He said: “I want to make sure that people fully understand the consequences of throwing just one punch. It was just one punch that not only put an abrupt end to our new year celebrations but has completely overshadowed, what was to be ‘our new and exciting chapter’ in our life. Thankfully I am here to tell the tale and I hope that by sharing my story people will realise the dangers involved. I hope that I can prevent, even one person, from throwing that, life altering/ in some cases fatal, punch in the future. Life is too precious.”

Here at Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, we know all too well that a serious brain injury happens in the blink of an eye.  All it takes is one punch or one second when someone takes their eye of the road. One in 5 of the brain injuries we see are caused by assault and road traffic accidents. The latest Garda statistics on assault are highlighted here as part of the Garda campaign Use Your Brain, Not Your Fists:

  • 83% of offenders in assault cases are male
  • Majority of offenders are aged between 18 and 39
  • 70% of assaults are male-on-male
  • 75% of assault victims are male
  • Street assaults typically occur between 8pm and 5am at the weekend
  • Low level of repeat offenders (approx 3%), and low level of repeat victimisation (0.6%)
  • Low level of reporting of assaults (approx 55% of assaults reported)

This summer, as many more students seek to go abroad on working holiday visas, we urge them to Keep Your Head and walk away from confrontation.

Our tips to avoid assault:

  • Stay together – don’t get separated from your friends and don’t leave a friend behind.
  • Walk away – if things get heated, Keep Your Head, walk away and call for help
  • Stay in touch – let people know where you are going and plan how to get there

 

Barbara O’Connell, Chief Executive added: “Nobody ever thinks a brain injury will happen to them, but it happens to 35 people in Ireland every day. It happens in the blink of an eye but can leave a lifetime of difficulty. All it takes is one punch to turn a life upside-down. Many of our brain injury survivors are often left with a chronic and ongoing condition that can affect their lives and those of their family for months, years and even decades after the initial injury. We need more people to walk away and call for help so we can stop any more young men suffering brain injury from assault.”

ENDS

May
04

This bank holiday weekend, we are asking road users and party goers to take extra care because 1 in 5 brain injuries one in five brain injuries is caused by assault and road traffic accidentsthat we see here in Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is caused by assault and road traffic accidents. In fact, 15% of our brain injury survivors have suffered an injury following road traffic accidents – a further 5% of brain injuries were the result of unprovoked assault. That’s why we are urging people to keep their head and take extra care ahead of a busy Bank Holiday Weekend. We’ve outlined three simple tips to help the public ‘keep their head’ and enjoy the 3-day break safely.

Tips for a safe weekend:

  1. Keep your head and watch your speed this weekend. You’ll get there when you get there.  Be mindful of other road users.
  2. Mind yourself and your friends. Enjoy the nightlife, don’t ruin a good night out.  Keep your head and walk away if things get heated. Don’t get separated from friends, stay together.
  3. Don’t get distracted. Be mindful in your actions – wear a seatbelt, wear a helmet, use hands-free phones only.

 

Barbara O’Connell, Chief Executive, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland said: “As the nation looks forward to getting out and about over the Bank Holiday Weekend, we are issuing a note of caution because as everywhere gets busier, it’s more important than ever to keep your head to avoid road traffic accidents or assaults. Nobody ever thinks a brain injury will happen to them. But it happens to 35 people in this country every day.  These people are often left with a chronic and ongoing condition that can affect their lives and those of their family for months, years and even decades after the initial injury. My own brother Peter suffered two brain injuries by the age of 42 after two serious road accidents. This Bank Holiday, we want everyone to enjoy the break safely so please, Keep Your Head on our roads and at night time.”

“Nobody ever thinks a brain injury will happen to them.”

Every year in Ireland an estimated 13,000 people acquire a brain injury resulting in life-altering, dramatic change and one fifth of people helped by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland suffered an injury to the brain because of road traffic accidents and assaults. Our note of caution follows the release of a new video as part of the Garda awareness campaign ‘Use Your Brain Not Your Fists’ which the charity fully supports. The campaign highlights the devastation caused by assault for two 20-year-old males, one who died 10 days after being assaulted and the other who suffered a severe brain injury after being struck with a brick.

At Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, we are the leading provider of community rehabilitation in Ireland for those of working age (18-65 years) living with and recovering from an acquired brain injury. At any one time, our national not-for-profit organisation delivers dedicated individual rehabilitation to an estimated 1,100 people, helping them to rebuild their lives.

ENDS

 

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