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Acquired Brain Injury

What is it?

An Acquired Brain Injury is any injury to the brain after birth. This category covers a very broad range of conditions since there are many ways the brain can be damaged. Unlike developmental conditions patients will generally be re-learning old skills rather than mastering new ones.

What causes it?

There are two types of Acquired Brain Injury:

Traumatic: where the cause was external such as a motor vehicle accident (often just called “MVA”), sports injuries or a bicycling accident.

Non-traumatic: where the cause was an internal problem such as an infection (e.g. meningitis or encephalitis), a stroke, an aneurysm (i.e. a swollen or ruptured blood vessel in the brain), or a tumor.

Note that this reflects the formal use of the term “trauma” to differentiate internal from external causes, ‘non-traumatic’ Acquired Brain Injury can just as serious as ‘traumatic’.

Treatment considerations

The treatment depends on the specific functions impaired by the injury. However, very often Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy are critical for building the muscles and skills to regain the ability to do everyday tasks. If the damage affects the language centres the Speech-Language Pathologists will play major role.

Developmental considerations

Human have a great capacity to rebound from injury and to accomplish a great deal even when an injury cannot be fully repaired. However, it can take a lot of time, effort and courage to recover from an Acquired Brain Injury.

Looking down the road

The prognosis varies a great deal from case to case; it all depends on the severity of the injury. Often even specialists cannot accurately predict how well someone will recover or how long it will take. The right approach is to work on the problems and help the person achieve their full potential.


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