What is Acquired Brain Injury?

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Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is damage to the brain caused by a traumatic or non-traumatic event that occurs after birth. Brain injury is not a congenital disorder (such as, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) or degenerative disease (such as, Alzheimer’s).          

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is damage to the brain from a traumatic event such as a motor vehicle accident, a fall, sports-related injury or blow to the head.

A non-traumatic brain injury is damage to the brain caused by stroke, brain tumour, illness, infection or oxygen deprivation.

A concussion is an brain injury which can be caused by a sudden acceleration of the head and neck resulting from a blow or contact to the body. For additional concussion information, click here.

Brain injury can vary from mild to very severe. It is important to know that even a seemingly minor injury can result in life altering changes. ABI can cause a wide range of functional changes which can affect thinking, sensation, language, and/or emotions. While some symptoms may subside over time, others may not. Survival rates have increased with advance trauma services and treatment options. For community brain injury resources, visit our Community page.


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Brain Injury Statistics

  • Approximately 1.5 million Canadians are living with an acquired brain injury.

  • Statistics indicated that 100,000 individuals will sustain a brain injury each year in Canada.

  • The annual cost of ABI has been estimated at $3 billion in Canada, with $1 billion in Ontario alone.

  • Every year in Canada, over 11,000 people die as a result of a Traumatic Brain Injury.

  • Each year over 6,000 become permanently disabled after a traumatic brain injury.

    • Acquired brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability for Canadians under 35.

  • Close to 500,000 people in Ontario are living with an acquired brain injury.

  • Close to 150,000 people are diagnosed every year with a concussion in Ontario.


Brain Education: Bikes, Blades & Boards

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  • What protects your brain? The human skull. Although, it does not provide a substantial amount of protection as it is less than 1/4 inch thick (that’s about the thickness of a pencil or 3 quarters!)

  • What does your brain feel like? Jelly-like. Your brain is an organ made up of billions of cells called neurons. Damaged neurons do not grow back. Once a neuron dies, it is gone forever.

  • Two of the leading causes of TBI are bicycle crashes or sports-related injuries. The only cure for a brain injury is prevention. Wear the right helmet for the right activity when participating in competitive or recreational sports. Wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle can reduce your risk of injury by 88%.

    Our Bikes, Blades & Boards Program provides education surrounding brain basics and injury prevention to students within grades 1 -3. To apply for a presentation, visit our BB&B Program page.

References for Acquired Brain Injury Information and Statistics are from the following websites:
Brain Injury Association of Canada: www.braininjurycanada.ca, Ontario Brain Injury Association: www.obia.ca, Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation: www.onf.org