About acquired brain injury

An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is an injury caused to the brain since birth. There are many possible causes, including a fall, a road accident, tumour and stroke.



Acquired brain injuries can come about as a result of many things, below we have listed some of the more common:

  • Head injury, e.g. through road traffic accidents, falls and assaults
  • Stroke
  • Tumour
  • Aneurysm
  • Hypoxia or anoxia (too little oxygen)
  • Toxic damage
  • Virus or infection (e.g. meningitis and encephalitis)
  • Neurological disease



The brain controls everything that we do, which means damage to the brain can have a wide range of effects and it is important to remember that every brain injury is different.

The effects of brain injury are commonly grouped into three main areas. These are:

  • Physical — affecting how the body works
  • Cognitive — affecting how the person thinks, learns and remembers
  • Emotional and behavioural — affecting how the person thinks, feels and acts

More information can be found on our Effects of Brain Injury Factsheet, which can be downloaded here.


How many people are affected by brain injury?

National estimates suggest that over 1 million people a year attend A&E as a result of a head injury. This figure does not include other acquired brain injuries such as strokes or tumours. If we include the other injuries then the number is easily double that and more.


To find out more

Headway Devon are the local specialists in acquired brain injury and we offer a range of resources and learning opportunities for anyone who would like to learn more about understanding and living with brain injury. For more information about our training opportunities, please email learning@headwaydevon.org.uk.