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We often talk about the road toll, but what is not discussed as often is the people who are seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents, and what life might look like for them post-accident.

This week (August 16-22, 2021) is Brain Injury Awareness Week and this year’s theme is Every Brain Injury is Different.

This pivotal advocacy week focuses on creating awareness in the community about the 700,000-plus Australians impacted by brain injury and their daily struggle to live in a world where their “disability” is often invisible.

Synapse is Australia’s peak brain injury organisation. According to CEO, Jennifer Cullen, brain injuries are as individual as people and can occur in a variety of ways from sporting injuries and brain tumours to car accidents and degenerative conditions such as dementia.

“Following a brain injury, the person impacted can develop medical difficulties, altered sensory abilities such as impaired vision, touch and smell; impaired physical abilities as well as significant memory loss cognitive fatigue and concentration problems,” Associate Professor Cullen said.

“And one of the biggest changes most will experience is a change to their behaviour and personality. They can become short tempered, lethargic, flat or depressed taking their frustration out on their loved ones or primary carers.”

Neil Singleton is the CEO of the National Injury Insurance Scheme, Queensland which was formed in 2016 to provide support to people seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents in Queensland, on or after 1 July 2016.

In the five years since its inception, NIISQ has grown to currently work with almost 370 participants – including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and motorbike or bicycle riders.

“More than 76% of NIISQ’s participants have suffered a traumatic brain injury, which can make their rehabilitation lengthy, frustrating and exhausting,” Mr Singleton said.

“Although we strive to make lives better for participants, tailoring their treatment, care and support and taking into consideration their unique and personal circumstances, the most ideal outcome is to avoid the motor vehicle accident entirely and to stay safe on the road.”

For more information about Synapse’s Brain Injury Awareness Week (August 16-22, 2021), click here.