Call us: (01) 280 4164

This week our On With Life Support Groups for families are coming to Kilkenny, Laois and Tipperary! On With Life Family and Friends Support Network for people coping with brain injury

What is On With Life?

On With Life is a dedicated support initiative for family and friends affected by brain injury.

Support for families

We recognise the importance of supporting family and friends as you learn to cope with the challenges after your loved one has a brain injury. Our new brain injury network On With Life is here to support families and friends by providing information, guidance and support on this journey.

Living with and caring for someone with a brain injury is a life-changing event. When a brain injury happens, it can be devastating, both for the individual and for family members just like you. It can put lives on hold while your loved one undergoes intense rehabilitation to relearn things, they used to do without thinking. Relationships are an essential part of any brain injury recovery. We are here to say, you are not alone.

Laois Support Group Meeting:

  • Date: 8th October
  • Time: 7.30pm-9.00pm
  • Location: St. Peter & Paul’s Parish Centre, Dublin Road, Portlaoise

Kilkenny Support Group Meeting:

  • Date: 10th October
  • Time: 7.00pm-8.00pm
  • Location: St. Patrick’s Parish Centre, Loughboy, Kilkenny

Tipperary Support Group Meetings:

  • Date: 9th October
  • Time: 7.30pm-9.00pm
  • Location: Silver Arch Resource Centre, 52 Silver Street, Nenagh 


  • Date: 10th October
  • Time: 2.30pm-3.30pm
  • Location: Acquired Brain Injury Ireland Offices, St Luke’s Hospital, St. Theresa’s Wing, Western Road, Clonmel

Families can become carers overnight

On With Life Support Group Co-ordinator Dolores Gallagher said: “Many family members and friends are thrust into the role of carer without warning. In addition, many of you may also be looking out for the health and wellbeing of other family members. Or you may have a job outside the home. Juggling all these challenges is not easy. We’re here to help you get ‘On With Life’.”

Benefits of our support groups

Ms Gallagher outlined the benefits of joining the On With Life support network:

  • opportunity to meet people who understand what you’re going through and share the reality of living with an acquired brain injury in the family, in a safe place
  • receive information on steps to take to keep yourself physically and emotionally healthy.
  • receive practical guidance how to meet family needs or juggling your job

Who can join?

On With Life is open to family members and friends of brain injury survivors in Laois. Attendees do not have to be previously involved with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland services. All are welcome.

Thanks to our funders

The On With Life project was approved by Government with support from the Dormant Accounts Fund. Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is the nation’s leading provider of community-based rehabilitation for people with acquired brain injuries.

Find out more

For more information about On With Life support groups see  or contact Dolores Gallagher on or call 086-0102361.



Clane 10k organising committee raising funds in aid of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland inspired by Jack Fadden's brain injury.

Clane 10k volunteers, left to right: Noel Haverty, Conor McCaffery, Danny Egan, Karle O Sullivan, Brian Keating, Jack Fadden, Marian O’Neill (Local Services Manager with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland), Karl Martin, Rachel Sweeney, Rob Eyres and Daryl Skelly.

Run towards a better you in the upcoming Clane 10k run on 9 November organised in aid of our charity. This marks the fourth year of this sell-out event sponsored by T&I Fitouts. You are strongly advised to register as soon as possible to secure a place and avoid disappointment. Last year more than 750 runners and walkers took part and this year, it is going to grow even bigger. The Clane 10k has already become a firm favourite on the Irish running calendar. Don’t miss your chance to take part!

Amazing funds raised!

Thanks to the incredible organising committee and all the people in Clane who have supported this 10k race because thanks to everyone’s efforts, the Clane 10k has raised  almost €60k raised to date!! Imagine! Every cent of this money received by our charity goes towards making life better for brain injury survivors in Kildare, West Dublin and right across Ireland.

5k Family Fun Run

To ensure there is something for everyone and to cater for all levels, a 5k Family Fun Run will also take place on 9th November. So why not come and join in the fun with all the family. We don’t mind if you walk, skip, jump or roll your way to the finish line. It’s the taking part that counts! Register your family now!


The Clane 10k is a special event inspired by young brain injury survivor Jack Fadden who suffered a bleed on the brain when he was just 21 years of age. The courage and resilience of the young Kildare native inspired his friends to organise the Clane 10k fundraiser. Their goal is to ensure more people like Jack get the rehabilitation they need to recover after brain injury.

Let’s make life better for brain injury survivors

Organiser Conor McCaffrey said: “The Clane 10k was borne out of a need to do something to make life better for people after brain injury. As friends of Jack, we saw the struggles he went through after his injury. We also saw the incredible strides he made with support from Acquired Brain Injury Ireland and his keyworker Aidan. He showed amazing determination to make progress in his rehabilitation.

“Organising this event is our way to give something back to the community and help more brain injury survivors in Ireland. Nobody ever thinks a brain injury will happen to them. But it can happen to you or me or your family. We hope everyone will come out to join us in Clane on 9 November, for a 10k run or the 5k fun run to raise vital funds for Acquired Brain Injury Ireland. It’s a great day out for all the family.”

How to register

  • Registrations are open now on
  • Search for the Clane 10k event.
  • Entry fees cover all levels of participant: €25 per 10km entry, €20 per 5km entry and €50 per family entry (2 x adults, 2 x children).

Our thanks to the Clane 10k Volunteers!

Our Head of Fundraising Jonathan Power said: “Organising an event on this scale is an enormous task. We are extremely grateful to the Clane 10k organising committee for volunteering their time and energy to deliver a first-class running event that continues to grow from strength to strength. Every day in Ireland, 52 people acquire a brain injury from stroke, road traffic accidents, falls and assaults. We believe every brain injury is unique and we champion personalised rehabilitation plans for all our clients. Ultimately our goal is that our clients won’t need us anymore. The funds raised from this event make an enormous difference to our rehabilitation services to maximise the potential of brain injury survivors to live as independently as possible.”

So join us – 9th November!

Clane 10k & 5k Family Fun Run 2019, 9 November, 10.00am. Entrants receive a technical t-shirt and bespoke medal. Post-race refreshments provided courtesy of Clane GAA. Register to take part with

Tweet #Clane10k



Our  ‘On With Life’ programme is a new Brain Injury Family and Friends Support Network and next week we’re coming to Cavan and Monaghan! On With Life Family and Friends Support Network for people coping with brain injury

We know that caring for a loved one with brain injury can be difficult without any help or support. Many family members and friends are thrust into the role of carer without warning.

How can I find out more?

That’s why we’re here to support you. Read more about On With Life here.

Join us in Cavan and Monaghan next week!

In the meantime, if you’re in Cavan or Monaghan, why not come along and join us?

It’s a great opportunity to meet other people with similar experiences and our experts are on hand with advice and guidance.

We’d love to see you!

On With Life Support Group Meetings:

  • Time: 7.30-9.00pm
  • First Tuesday of the month – 1st October, 5th November, 3rd December
  • Meeting held at the Irish Wheelchair Association Unit 1, Block D, Corlurgan Business Park, Cavan, H12 W667
  • Time: 7.30-9.00pm
  • First Wednesday of the month, 2nd October, 6th November, 4th December
  • CRANOG HSE Resource Centre, Bree, Castleblayney, A75 XW77

Contact details:

For more information, contact Dolores Gallagher on or call 086-0102361.

Find out about more On With Life support group meetings happening around the country here.


New research published in today’s Irish Times showed that 70% of cyclists referred to Ireland’s main centre for treating brain damage, were not wearing a helmet at the time of their injury.

A total of 26 cyclists were sent for treatment at the neurosurgical centre at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. Eighteen out of 26 cyclists referred to the centre, were not wearing helmets.

Mind Your Head – Wear a Helmet cyclists urged to wear a helmet to prevent brain injury

That’s why we are urging all cyclists to ‘Mind Your Head’ and wear a helmet, even if it’s for short journeys.

We’re not surprised by findings

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, our CEO Barbara O’Connell told listeners that the latest research was not surprising because it confirms much of what we already see in our services.

Barbara said: “Nobody ever thinks a brain injury will happen to them and yet it happens to 52 people in this country every day. It is well proven that wearing a helmet reduces the severity of the brain injury by absorbing the impact from the collision.

“A helmet won’t prevent every head injury, but it can prevent serious head injuries like skull fractures, and this helps to reduce the amount of time a person spends in recovery and rehabilitation.”

Cycling is good for you and the environment

The last thing we want, is to stop people from cycling which is a great form of exercise, active commuting and pollution-free transport for the environment.

Helmets prevent serious injuries

But from a brain injury point of view, we want every cyclist – young and old – wearing a helmet.

The latest research findings show how serious cycling injuries can be without one. Recovery after brain injury is not easy. A fall off your bike can leave you with a chronic condition affecting your life and the lives of your family for months, years or even decades after the initial injury.

Don’t take that chance. Mind your head and wear a helmet.

Cycling topped the referrals to neurological centre for sporting head injuries

The research also found that cycling had the highest numbers for referral to the neurological centre at 86 cases, followed by Gaelic football at 30 cases and horse riding at 23.

What Australian experts say

According to the national brain injury charity, wearing a helmet is not new advice. As recently as 2016, Australian researchers showed how cycle helmets reduced the risk of serious head injury by nearly 70% and the risk of fatal head injury by 65%.


Today, 26 September, also marks European Day Without A Road Death which encourages motorists to be aware of others using the road and to be particularly mindful of vulnerable road users including cyclists.

Cyclist injuries on Irish roads

Statistics published in 2018 by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) showed that as many as 153 pedal cycle users experienced serious injuries on Irish roads and a further 778 cyclists reported minor injuries.

Helmet wearing was not captured in this data. The RSA’s provisional review of fatal collisions confirmed 9 cyclist fatalities for 2018.

It’s easy to come off your bike

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland also reminded the public that it doesn’t have to be as dramatic as a road collision for a cyclist to come of their bike. Other causes can include:

·       Greasy surface

·       Faulty mudguard

·       Bump on the road

·       Cardiac event

You can read more about the research published in today’s Irish Times here.


“Completely insane” and “crazy” was how Áine Carroll, Professor of Healthcare Improvement at UCD, described the fact that more than one million people are on waiting lists in our health service.

Call for community health services

In particular, we welcome Professor Carroll’s comments in today’s Irish Times stressing the need for greater focus on the provision of services in community. This would mean a move away from a focus that seems to be “relentlessly hospital-obsessed”.

What’s it like for many brain injury survivors Acquired Brain Injury Ireland community rehabilitation team for brain injury survivors

At Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, too often we see too many brain injury survivors forced to live indefinitely in nursing homes or community hospitals without any access to rehabilitation to aid their recovery. Additionally, many more are discharged home to families who are often unable to cope. 19,000 people acquire brain injuries in Ireland annually from stroke, road traffic accidents, falls, assaults and brain tumours.

Benefits of helping to grow our services

Greater investment in our brain injury rehabilitation services in residential, community and clubhouse settings can: free up hospital beds, reduce delayed discharges and improve quality of life for people after brain injury.

Rehabilitation is not care

While our rehabilitation services are distinct from care services, there are times when both are necessary to support the recovery of a brain injury survivor to maximise their potential and rebuild their life as independently as possible.

Imbalance of services

The latest comments by Prof Carroll were made at the launch of new ESRI study which confirmed the large inequalities between counties regarding the supply of home care and residential care. According to today’s Irish Times article, “Eastern counties are generally under-served while Western counties are over-served relative to the average”.


Ignite Fund Social Innovation Fund Ireland Harnessing Ability Award for Step Ahead to help brain injury survivors return to work or education with vocational assessment and support

We are delighted to tell you that Acquired Brain Injury Ireland was selected as one of six organisations to be awarded a grant from the Ignite Fund to help rebuild lives after brain injury.

The Ignite Fund was created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland in partnership with several private philanthropists and the Department of Rural and Community Development. Together these bodies have awarded a total fund of €550,000 to six worthwhile organisations – and we’re one of them!

How the Ignite Fund works

The Department of Rural and Community Development matches funding for all philanthropic funds raised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland from the Dormant Accounts Fund. The Awardees are spread across four separate categories under the themes of ‘Empowering Families’, ‘Youth Resilience’, ‘Harnessing Ability’ and ‘Music to Impact’.

Harnessing Ability

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has received the Ignite Fund Award 2019 to support brain injury survivors returning to work or education after brain injury.  The ‘Harnessing Ability’ Award was supported by philanthropists Ralph and Maureen Parkes and W2 Foundation, for which we are extremely grateful. Thanks to this award, we can expand our new vocational assessment service which was launched earlier this year. Step Ahead is a free of charge vocational assessment service that addresses the challenge of returning to paid employment or training for brain injury survivors.

Making a difference

Our National Services Manager Dr Karen Foley said: “Winning the Ignite Funding is vital to help us expand our Step Ahead vocational assessment service and rebuild lives after brain injury. Our new Step Ahead service, which also receives co-funding by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020, offers essential and practical solutions to support adults returning to work, education or training after brain injury. Often people either cannot access or get the correct vocational supports they need. Thanks to the Ignite funding, we can expand this vital service to brain injury survivors of all ages, so they get the support they need from clinical experts in brain injury.”

Nobody ever thinks a brain injury will happen to them

Brain injuries can happen to anyone at any age at any time. They happen every day from causes like stroke, traffic accidents, falls, assault and brain tumours. When a brain injury happens, it can be devastating, both for the individual and for their families. Depending on the severity of the injury and what part of the brain is affected, it can put lives on hold while they undergo intense rehabilitation to relearn everyday activities, they used to do without thinking.

A word from our Minister of State

Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, Seán Canney TD said: “It makes me very proud that my Department, through the Dormant Accounts Funds, supports Social Innovation Fund Ireland in the great work they do. I am delighted to be here today to announce the six Awardees of their Ignite Fund. The initiatives each of these projects are developing are truly amazing and it’s wonderful to see them receive the recognition at today’s ceremony.”

A word from our philanthropists

Ralph & Maureen Parkes, philanthropists, and donors to the Ignite Fund said: “We are delighted to support Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Ignite Fund, especially the Harnessing Ability and Youth Resilience Awards. Each project and charity is unique in its own way and each demonstrates a clearly positive social impact on the fabric of Irish life.”



A new study by Cork University Hospital (CUH) has shown that one year after a concussion injury, more women were still affected by mild brain injury symptoms than men. brain wrapped in a bandage to show concussion

What is Post Concussion Syndrome?

This is known as Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). It is a mild traumatic brain injury with symptoms including dizziness, depression, headaches and cognitive deficits such as problems with memory, language and thinking.

Patients still living with symptoms a year later

For the most part, the study found that symptoms were resolved in patients within 3 months. But for as many as 45% of patients, they continued to experience post-concussion symptoms up to a year later. People struggled with fatigue,  which is very common after brain injuries. Some patients reported worse dizziness or difficulties with physical functioning.

More women affected with Post Concussion Syndrome

Post concussion syndrome was more prevalent in women and these women reported worse outcomes after their mild traumatic brain injury. This may be somewhat surprising to read because many of us associate brain injury with men. Here in Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, two thirds of our clients are male and the most common causes of brain injury we see are from stroke, road traffic accidents, falls and assaults.

Brain injury rehabilitation may help

The CUH study was a small sample of 112 patients and larger studies will help to draw attention to this widely under-recognised condition. However, the latest study is the start of clear evidence that many people live with the affects of concussion long after their injury. It may mean that following a concussion, many people could benefit from rehabilitation specific to brain injury, like the services we provide, to help with their recovery.

You can read more about this study in today’s Irish Examiner. It was also published in the Irish Medical Journal.

If you are worried that someone is concussed, here are the signs to look out for:

-Person appears dazed or stunned

-Person forgets instruction

-Person answers questions slowly

-Person loses consciousness (even briefly)

-Person forgets events prior to or after fall or hit

-Person moves clumsily

-Shows Mood Behaviour/Personality Change

What steps should I take if someone is concussed?

If you suspect a concussion, complete and utter rest is the most important thing to do.

That means:

-No TV

-No Computers

-No Bright Lights

-No Reading

-No Texting

-No Radio

-No Loud Noise

-No Physical Exercise

-No Alcohol

-No Driving

-No Exertion of any kind

In other words, complete brain rest and sleep.



Don’t miss our Step Ahead roadshow heading ‘Into The West’ this September! That’s right – we’re off to spread the word about our new vocational assessment services for young brain injury survivors in Sligo, Donegal, Mayo and Galway.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland's Step Ahead team launch vocational assessment services nationally with two centres in Cork and Dublin. Pictured here are Senior Occupational Therapists Sinead Stack and Emer Duffy joined by vocational facilitators Lisa Lyons and Valerie Burke.

Our Step Ahead Team

What is Step Ahead?

Step Ahead is Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s new service delivering vocational assessments to support young people aged 18-29 years, who wish to return to work or education after brain injury. Earlier this year we launched Step Ahead thanks to funding from the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020. Step Ahead is a national service led by Senior Occupational Therapists in two centres based in Cork and Dublin.

How can I find out more?

This September you can join us for our September roadshow to learn more about Step Ahead in the following locations:

Who can attend the roadshow?

At Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, we rebuild lives through brain-injury rehabilitation. With our new Step Ahead service, we want to help more young people with brain injuries get the support they need to go back to work or college. That’s why we’re inviting you to come and visit our roadshow this September. Join us if you are:

  • a brain injury survivor aged 18-29 years
  • a family member of a brain injury survivor as above
  • a health or social care professional
  • an employer interested in supporting people after brain injury

What will I learn?

  • How our Step Ahead vocational assessment is a vital starting point to support your return to work or education
  • For healthcare professionals, learn more about the service and how to make referrals

Will I have to travel a lot?

Brain injury survivors from the West of Ireland can attend our Step Ahead centres in Dublin or Cork for an expert vocational assessment. After the assessment, each participant will receive a detailed report to guide them on next steps. As part of our Step Ahead service we also provide  the option of follow-up support via telephone and Skype.

Some interesting facts

  • 19,000 brain injuries happen annually in Ireland from causes such as stroke, road traffic accidents, falls, assault and brain tumours
  • 40% of people with traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries are able to return to work after 1 or 2 years after their injury
  • Many brain injury survivors attempt to return to work too soon without having the necessary supports

A word from our experts

Our Senior Occupational Therapist Emer Duffy said: “After a brain injury, an individual’s brain is often working harder than someone who hasn’t gone through such a trauma and so that can cause fatigue, memory problems, frustration and stress. That’s why our new Step Ahead service, with centres in Dublin and Cork, is so vital to help assess where people are at and help them with practical strategies so they can manage their fatigue and cope with stresses that might occur when returning to work or education. We also engage with employers to help with their understanding of brain injury so they know how to better support someone. For many people after brain injury, reasonable accommodations from employers can make all the difference such as allowing someone to return part-time and/or building back up to a five-day week.”

For more information on STEP AHEAD contact Emer Duffy on 086-6037353 or visit


Join Paul McGrath this August!

We are urging sporting fans to take part in our first Paul McGrath Golf Classic on 31st August in Rathaspeck Manor in Wexford. Join the Irish footballing legend for a fantastic golf day and the chance to pot a hole-in-one for brain injury.

Paul McGrath’s Thoughts

Paul McGrath Golf Classic in aid of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland held in Rathaspeck Manor Co WexfordA supporter of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Paul McGrath said: “I’m delighted to support the first Paul McGrath Golf Classic and to help raise vital funds for people affected by brain injury. I know the Acquired Brain Injury Ireland team here in Wexford and I have immense admiration for the great work they do. Nobody ever thinks a brain injury will happen to them but unfortunately it can happen all too easily, even after a simple fall. I hope lots of people will join us to raise vital funds for this charity so we can help turn people’s lives around after brain injury while enjoying a fun game of golf here in sunny Wexford!”

Sign up now!

You can enter with a fee of €100 for a team of four people. All proceeds will go to support our charity. As well as a great day of golf, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a BBQ and refreshments. You will also have a chance for photos with the man himself carrying his PFA trophy. For more information or to sign up, click here.

Importance of fundraising

Jonathan Power, our Head of Fundraising said: “We are delighted to have the support of Paul McGrath to launch this unique fundraiser in aid of our charity. Paul is one of the greatest ever Irish soccer players and his support will help us raise vital funds so more people have a chance to rebuild their lives after the trauma of brain injury. With only 50 team spots available, I’d advise people to sign up as soon as possible. We’ve also got great prizes on the day including tickets to the All-Ireland Final and tickets to a Republic of Ireland home match of your choice.  So bring your best game because we’ll be looking for the best team, closest to the pin and the longest drive!”

Money raised from the Paul McGrath Golf Classic will support our rehabilitation services available in Wexford and nationwide.

Every year there are 19,000 acquired brain injuries in Ireland from causes including stroke, road traffic accidents and falls. This event is important to raise funds so brain injury survivors can continue to rebuild their lives.



What is a concussion?

When you hear about concussion, many people don’t realise that a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. It usually happens after an impact to the head.

The good news is that concussions are not usually life-threatening and you can recover from this type of brain injury. That’s why it’s important to know more about the causes and the signs and symptoms.

Jockeys 3 times as likely to get a concussion

Recent findings from a new UCD study have found that amateur jockeys are three times more likely to get a concussion than professional jockeys. In fact, concussion is the biggest injury threat for jockeys, as reported in The Times.

Nearly 65 percent of amateur jockeys have been concussed from a fall compared to 25 percent of professionals.

One reason for this, is that professional jockeys are trained in how to fall. UCD Professor Michael Gilchrist explained how they learn to roll up into a ball and roll with the momentum to minimise the risk of injury.

But amateur jockeys do not have this level of fall training, making them more likely to sustain a head injury.

Concussion awareness

At Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, we want to help spread awareness and educate more people on concussion. Concussion is a manageable and recoverable injury.

That is why it is vital to know the warning signs, symptoms and treatment time of a concussion in order to ensure proper recovery.

If you are worried someone is concussed, here are the signs to look out for:

-Person appears dazed or stunned

-Person forgets instruction

-Person answers questions slowly

-Person loses consciousness (even briefly)

-Person forgets events prior to or after fall or hit

-Person moves clumsily

-Shows Mood Behaviour/Personality Change

What steps should I take if someone is concussed?

If you suspect a concussion, complete and utter rest is the most important thing to do.

That means:

-No TV

-No Computers

-No Bright Lights

-No Reading

-No Texting

-No Radio

-No Loud Noise

-No Physical Exercise

-No Alcohol

-No Driving

-No Exertion of any kind

In other words, complete brain rest and sleep.