It’s Brain Injury Awareness Week!
Meet James – he has been living with a brain injury for 18 years. He writes about his experience and explains why Brain Injury Awareness Week is important to him.
Hi, my name’s James. I’m 38 years old and I have an acquired brain injury. Before my brain injury I was a rugby league and cricket representative player. I was socially included, I had a heap of friends.
After acquiring my brain injury, I found that people fell away. They heard that I had a brain injury and they were not willing to hang around to see how bad the injury is.
Many people hear the word brain injury and they look at you and think, ‘Oh they have a brain injury, they’re a lot worse than I am, they are not worthy of my time, they aren’t able to make clear decisions’.
What would you like people to know about living with an acquired brain injury?
I am not defined by my brain injury. Each and every day that passes my brain heals. In my mind, everyone has an injury of some sort to their brain. Everybody is different in their personality, in their way of thinking, in every brain function there is. I had a traumatic brain injury on the right side of my brain. Other people have challenges in other parts of their brain, brain injuries from years of neglect or brain injuries from psychological or physical abuse.
Why is Brain Injury Awareness Week important?
It is important to show people that brain injuries don’t define people.
The extent of a brain injury doesn’t determine or define the person’s life. People are so much more than this, this is what we need to look at, people as people.
The theme of Brain injury Awareness Week this year is ‘Life is bigger than a brain injury’. What does this mean to you?
The brain injury is a small part of my life, I have so much more going on than a brain injury. I have hobbies and am involved in community groups. I have completed a couple of TAFE courses. This would have been unbelievable to the support looking after me at the beginning of my recovery.
I have also found new, more valuable friends.
The brain injury doesn’t define me, I make sure it doesn’t define me. I make sure I excel to prove to myself and others that the brain injury category is not the only category I am placed in.