What is Acquired Brain Injury?

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is caused by traumatic & non-traumatic events that injure the brain after a person is born. It can be caused by trauma, accident, assault or penetration of the brain by a foreign object. Other causes include surgery, stroke, brain tumour, infection, drug/alcohol abuse, or lack of oxygen.              

  •  Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the result of a blow to the head or spinning forces on the brain.
  • The human skull provides little protection; it is less than 1/4 inch thick and has a tendency to crack under pressure.
  • Damaged brain cells DO NOT REPAIR or REPLACE themselves.
  • The leading causes of TBI are falls, motor vehicle crashes, bicycle crashes, and sports related injuries.
  • Brain Injury can vary from mild concussion to severe (deep coma). Depending on the severity of the injury, some may recover after a period of rest. Others will require a lifetime of support.
  • Although the severity of a brain injury is often only measured by the depth and duration of coma, it is important to remember that even a seemingly minor injury can result in major changes in a person's life.
  • More than ever, people are surviving brain injuries because of improvements in medical and trauma care, as well as ongoing safety improvements in motor vehicles, workplace safety, and sporting equipment standards.

Brain Injury Statistics

Brain Injury in Ontario
- Close to 500,000 people in Ontario are living with an acquired brain injury.
- 18,000 individuals in Ontario obtain a brain injury every year.
- About 3,000 of these will be left with physical cognitive/and or behavioural consequences severe enough to prevent them from returning to pre-injury lifestyles.
- 35 people a day are admitted to hospital who have sustained a brain injury.
- 1 in 10 people will know someone who will suffer a brain injury this year.

Brain Injury in Hamilton
- Statistics coming soon

Resources for Acquired Brain Injury Statistics are from the following websites:
- Ontario Brain Injury Association:
- Brain Injury Association of Canada:
- Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation:
- Brain Injury Association of Waterloo-Wellington:


Brain Injury in Canada
- Within the next hour, 6 Canadians will suffer a brain injury.
- 465 people suffer a brain injury daily, in Canada, this amounts to 1 person injured every 3 minutes.
- An estimated 1.3 million Canadians are living with and an acquired brain injury.
- When injury due to stroke or other non-traumatic causes is included, close to 4% of the population of Canada live with a brain injury.
- Traumatic Brain Injury occurs 500 out of 100,000 individuals yearly in Canada.
- Over 5,000 children in Canada will be seriously injured.
- 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.
- The highest incidence of traumatic brain injury are men aged 16-24, men experience brain injury twice as often than female.
- The greatest killer under age 45, the greatest disabler under the age 44 and kills more children under the age 20 than any other causes combined.
- 85% of all cyclists deaths in Canada involve a brain injury.
- 1 in 5 sport related injuries are head injuries (concussions).
- Occurs at a rate of 100 times of spinal cord injury.

Brain Injury Symptoms

An individual with brain injury may exhibit problems with any or all the following:

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