Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
An acquired brain injury 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 degenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s
Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury is damage to the brain caused by a traumatic
event such as a blow to the head, a fall, a motor vehicle or sports related
Non-traumatic Brain Injury
Non-traumatic brain injury is damage to the brain caused by illness such
as meningitis or encephalitis, oxygen deprivation (anoxia) or stroke.
A concussion is a brain injury which can be caused by a sudden
acceleration of the head and neck resulting from a blow or contact to the
body. You do not need to lose consciousness to have sustained a
concussion. Concussions can occur from many different activities
including falls, assault, motor vehicle collisions, sports or being struck by
an object. Symptoms can appear immediately or, in some cases, days
following the initial injury.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- If you think you have a concussion, see a medical doctor
or nurse practitioner to be diagnosed.
After a concussion, rest for the first 24-48 hours, then
gradually return to daily activities.
- As you start to feel better, it’s important to get back to
doing your normal activities. Be aware of your symptoms,
but know that you don’t need to be symptom-free before
trying to get back to your routine.
- Every patient diagnosed with concussion should receive
follow-up (usually from their family doctor) within 1-2
- Most people who experience a concussion make a full
recovery within 4 weeks.
- If you aren’t getting better, talk to your family doctor so
that they can refer you to a healthcare provider with
experience managing your specific concussion symptoms.
I THINK I HAVE A CONCUSSION. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Visit your family doctor, nurse practitioner, or an emergency department to diagnose
your concussion. If you are diagnosed with a concussion, see your family doctor within 1-
2 weeks of your diagnosis. Depending on your symptoms, you will also need to see other
healthcare providers with experience in managing those specific symptoms. Your
healthcare providers will check your symptoms, monitor how you are doing, and decide
if or when they need to see you again.
HOW DO I MANAGE MY CONCUSSION SYMPTOMS?
Get physical and mental rest during the 24-48 hours after concussion. Increased sleep is
normal and necessary, you don’t need to be woken up every hour or put in a dark room.
Gradually returning to daily activities and regular routines is part of the healing process,
start by doing a just a little, and if you feel OK, then you can try to do a bit more. Talk
with doctor or nurse practitioner about returning to work, school, or sport.
HOW WILL I FEEL AFTER HAVING A CONCUSSION?
Concussions symptoms can affect your body, but they can also affect your thinking,
emotions, and sleep. Symptoms might appear right away or a few days later. Symptoms
can last for days, weeks, or even longer. Some people may experience only one
symptom and others may experience many. Most people who experience a concussion
make a full recovery, with symptoms lasting up to 4 weeks.
WHAT IF I AM NOT GETTING BETTER?
It is important to give the brain time to heal. Most people recover by one month. For
some, concussion recovery can take longer, with their symptoms lasting beyond a few
months. Symptoms that last longer than three months are referred to as ‘prolonged
symptoms.’ If your symptoms last longer than this, it doesn’t mean that you will never
recover. Talk to your family doctor if you are concerned about your symptoms. Your
family doctor might refer you to an interdisciplinary concussion clinic or a group of
providers who have experience managing concussion symptoms.
OTHER RESOURCE LINKS:
Below are links to external websites that we believe may be of interest to victims of acquired brain injury and their loved ones.
- Ontario Brain Injury Association
- Ontario March of Dimes
- Ontario Trillium Foundation
- Toronto Acquired Brain Injury Network
- Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation
- Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab
- Toronto Rehab
- Community Head Injury Services
- Peel Cheshire Homes