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Acquired Brain Injury

An acquired brain injury is damage to the brain that occurs after birth from a traumatic or non-traumatic event. It can include damage sustained by infection, disease, lack of oxygen or a blow to the head. An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is the umbrella term for all brain injuries.

How does ABI affect a person?

The outcome of an ABI can be different for each person, and ranges from mild to severe. As a result, the long-term effects of brain injury are difficult to predict. Common symptoms include increased fatigue (mental and physical), reduced speed of information processing, planning and problem solving. Changes to behaviour, personality, physical and sensory abilities, or thinking and learning are also possible.

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 injury. When there is a hard blow to the head, the brain slams against the skull, which leads to physical injuries such as bruising, swelling, or bleeding. The severity of the injury ranges from a temporary loss of consciousness, to a long-term period of unconsciousness or coma.

Non-Traumatic Brain Injury

Non-traumatic brain injury is damage to the brain caused by internal factors, such as lack of oxygen to the brain (anoxia), illness such as meningitis or encephalitis, 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 a concussion should receive a follow-up (usually from their family doctor) within 1-2 weeks. 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.

Check our list of Frequently Asked Questions here!