16 November 2023

Conor’s Story

Conor had just celebrated his 21st birthday and was looking forward to becoming a qualified plumber.

But a devastating, unprovoked assault on New Year’s Eve changed Conor’s life forever.

Conor said he has suffered a “severe identify crisis” since this incident. He had his entire life in front of him.


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Three years ago, Conor was ringing in the New Year with his friends at a pub when the terrible event occurred. Conor was assaulted by a man in an unprovoked attack, who struck Conor with a punch and kick to the head.

The two encountered each other in the restroom and engaged in friendly conversation while washing their hands. They had never met each other before this. And then things took a tragic turn.

All of a sudden, the man pushed Conor backwards and hit him with his elbow, causing Conor to fall to the ground. In a shocking act, the man then kicked Conor in the head before leaving the scene. Conor was unresponsive with a large gash on his head. The unexpected attack left Conor with severe injuries, including a traumatic brain injury.


“That night I left home as someone I’ll never see again. Sometimes I don’t even recognise myself”.

The effects of his injury have been intense. He struggles with severe pain, often facing debilitating, cluster headaches up to three times a week. The simple act of waking up with a headache can derail his plans for the day, forcing him to rest and not be able to do anything either professionally or socially.

The impact of these headaches extends into his work and studies, and at times he has no choice but to take days off. This delay, because of his brain injury, added another year on his path towards completing his plumbing qualification.

Last Christmas was incredibly challenging for Conor. He was not able to keep up with his friend’s festive outings and he was also dealing with looming court dates due to the assault. He was constantly feeling unwell, and it felt like rock bottom in terms of recovery.

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It was just a very uneasy Christmas.

Amid the adversity, Conor found his lifeline and additional support system in Acquired Brain Injury Ireland.

The Step Ahead Plus programme, offered by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, was instrumental in Conor’s road to recovery and his return to work. This is a programme we offer at no cost across the country. It helps adults with brain injuries who wish to get back to work, training, or school.

Our Step Ahead Plus Team worked closely with Dublin City Council’s Head of Apprentices and HR department (where Conor works). Acquired Brain Injury Ireland informed them about the accommodations Conor needed when he returned. Dublin City Council was very supportive and willing to help with Conor’s Return to Work Plan.


It was evident that Conor was a valued member of the team.

Conor is in the final phase of his apprenticeship and will be a fully qualified plumber in December. We are so proud of him as he continues to find a new normal. Conor’s story is a testament to perseverance, the embodiment of the human spirit’s strength, and adapting to a life filled with challenges.

But it doesn’t end here. Following the trial for the person who assaulted him, Conor received a sum of money from the convicted offender. He made the decision to donate the full amount of €10,000 to support Acquired Brain Injury Ireland. This is one young man who has shown true kindness in the face of an extremely difficult experience.

We hope that you are inspired by Conor’s incredible donation and will consider making an extraordinary gift this Christmas. Our goal is to double Conor’s contribution as a community.

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