What is an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)?
The Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) describes an Acquired Brain Injury in this way:
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is damage to the brain that occurs after birth from a traumatic or non-traumatic event. ABI is not related to a congenital disorder or a degenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is damage to the brain caused by a traumatic event such as, a blow to the head, a fall, a motor vehicle collision or a sports related injury. Non-Traumatic Brain Injury is damage to the brain caused by illness such as meningitis or encephalitis, oxygen deprivation (anoxia) or stroke.1
10 Facts about ABI:
Ruth Wilcock, Executive Director, OBIA states, “In Ontario alone there are close to half a million people living with a brain injury, with 18,000 new cases added every year.”2 The OBIA prepared a statistical snapshot of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and its effects on survivors and caregivers. The information was compiled in a report called: The OBIA Impact Report 2012.3 Below you’ll find just a few of the facts from that report:
1. 40% of ABI survivors sustained the brain injury as a result of an automobile crash.
2. 5% of respondents indicated that their injury was sports related.
3. 95% have trouble remembering some or most of the time.
4. 76% have trouble with depression some of most of the time.
5. More than 90% have trouble with concentration, making decisions and memory.
6. 71% have trouble with dizziness some or most of the time.
7. 22% have trouble with seizures some or most of the time.
8. 69% have trouble controlling their temper some or most of the time.
9. Nearly 80% have trouble with anxiety some or most of the time.
10. Nearly 15% indicated that it took longer than 6 months to learn of their brain injury, 4% of which stated it being more than 5 years.
What can you do to protect yourself?
1. Commit to focusing on the road when you drive. The Ontario Provincial Police states, “Distracted driving is cited as a causal factor in 30 to 50 per cent of traffic collisions in Ontario, but is probably much higher due to under-reporting.”4 Combine those statistics with those of the OBIA Impact Report 2012 which indicates “40% of ABI survivors sustained the brain injury as a result of an automobile crash”5 and it’s easy to see that focusing on the road when you drive can significantly decrease your risk of sustaining a brain injury. Consider taking the “I D.O.N.T. Pledge” (Drive Only, Never Text.) Read more here.
2. Commit to wearing the proper protective head gear when participating in sporting activities. While it doesn’t guarantee you will avoid sustaining a head injury, it certainly reduces the risk and it just may end up saving your life.
3. Never ignore a blow to the head. To discover the symptoms of concussion and what to do if you’ve sustained a blow to the head, click here.
1 What is ABI
2 Creating Awareness Through the 2012 OBIA Impact Report
3 2012 OBIA Impact Report
4 Ontario Provincial Police: Distracted Driving
5 2012 OBIA Impact Report