A new brain injury occurs every 15 minutes in New Zealand, far surpassing the number of heart attacks and more than five times the number of new strokes. The estimated cost on the health system is $100 million a year, but it is expected that this figure will rise significantly. Brain injuries, including stroke and traumatic brain injury, is the leading cause of disability and death in New Zealand. However, the real cost in terms of rehabilitation, family impact and far reaching social implications for people whose head injury lasts a lifetime, is incalculable.
The BIONIC (Brain Injury Outcomes NZ in the Community) study published in The Lancet 22 November 2012

What is Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is caused by impact to the head which in turn causes damage to the brain. TBI can happen at the time of impact or later on. The injury may be confined to one area of the brain or it can involve several areas of the brain. There are three ways the brain is injured:

  • Bruising and bleeding – the brain is thrown against the front and back of the skull which causes bruising and/or bleeding.
  • Swelling – if there is swelling in the brain pressure begins to build up and damages structures in the brain.
  • Tearing, shearing and twisting - when tearing occurs the connections between various parts can be sheared and twisted.

The most common causes of brain injury are car or bike accidents, sports, falls or assaults. Brain injuries, especially mild brain injuries, may not be evident at first. Even if a brain injury is considered “mild”, it can still have a major impact on all areas of your life.

A CONCUSSION IS A BRAIN INJURY – you do not need to lose consciousness to sustain a concussion.

THINK! provides the following:

  • Advocacy on behalf of clients with ACC, Work and Income, Housing NZ, Probation, Correction Services, medical consultations and assessments, court and other social services;
  • On-going client and family support;
  • Provision of relevant information including quarterly newsletters;
  • Awareness and prevention through regular expos, displays, events and presentations;
  • Support group meetings;
  • ‘Living with a Brain Injury’ seminars;
  • Head Injury Awareness month in June;
  • Community Educational workshops in collaboration with Healthcare Rehabilitation Ltd;
  • Kootuitui Hot desk at Hamilton Library

Brain injury does not discriminate it can happen to anyone - anytime - anywhere

Types of Head Injury

Closed Head Injury

A closed head injury occurs when the head is struck but the skull is not penetrated or fractured. This can still cause someone to lose consciousness and the brain can be seriously damaged. Concussion is one example of a closed head injury.

Open Head Injury

Open head injuries occur when the skull has been broken and the brain exposed. This may damage the brain tissue immediately below the fracture causing loss of consciousness and damage to a larger area of the brain than closed head injuries.

Minor Head Injury

A minor head injury may occur if the head is moved violently or struck. Hospitalisation may not be necessary and sometimes there is no loss of consciousness. Even so, some people experience behavioural and cognitive problems, which can interfere with their lives as a result. It is important to get information to understand the possible effects this may have on you.

Post Concussional Syndrome

Symptoms such as headache, dizziness, deafness, ringing in the ears, memory impairment and short attention span may occur after a minor head injury. These symptoms vary from person to person but are known as ‘Post Concussional Syndrome’. Explanation and advice should be sought from your local doctor who may refer you to a neurologist.

Head injuries may cause some of these symptoms:

Memory loss
Social isolation
Loss of independence
Poor concentration
Attention difficulties
Disrupted sleep patterns
Mood swings
Communication difficulties
Physical/mobility problems
Sensory disruption
Learning difficulties
Speech difficulties

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Informative articles

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