Supporting people with acquired brain injury and their families

Causes of acquired brain injury

Acquired brain injury is a major cause of disability affecting around 73,000 people in Victoria at any time. Around 31,000 of these people require varying amounts of personal assistance or supervision for the rest of their lives.

ABI results from a range of accidents, behaviours and medical conditions including:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • contact sports such as football, rugby and boxing
  • individual sports including horse riding, skiing and skateboarding
  • work, farm, home, school and leisure accidents
  • assault including domestic violence
  • road accidents. Road deaths have declined over recent years but head injuries from road trauma has increased affecting vehicle drivers and passengers, pedestrians, motorcycle and bicycle riders
  • stroke affects people of all ages. As well as older people, children as young as nine have been reported as having a stroke or cerebral hemorrhage.
Alcohol & drug abuse
  • prolonged alcohol abuse and binging can cause alcohol related brain injury (ARBI)
  • a previous injury to the brain can be worsened through the use of alcohol and drugs.
Hypoxia (lack of oxygen)
  • brain injury can occur if the brain is starved of oxygen for three minutes through
    • near drowning
    • attempted suicide
    • drug overdose
    • electrocution
    • severe asthma attack
    • anesthetic accident
    • medical incident or severe heart attack.
Brain tumour & infectious disease
  • Brain function can be affected by diseases such as cancer, meningitis and encephalitis.
Degenerative neurological conditions
  • Brain function can be affected by many degenerative conditions. Unlike other forms of ABI, these conditions do not stabilise or improve with time.

If you're looking for more information on ABI, please check our links page for other resources.