140 a Year Helped After Brain Injuries

A Devon charity - which works with people who've suffered brain injuries and neurological disabilities because of a head injury, stroke or tumour - is supporting 140 sufferers a year here.

Headway Devon provides rehabilitation and support at centres in Exeter, Exmouth, Honiton, Tiverton, Torquay, Okehampton - and across the county through Outreach services.

23 year old Ryan Walker fractured his skull in 2005: "sometimes if you struggle you come here and you get away from it. Other people don't get you sometimes but if you explain it to people here they completely understand what you mean."

The charity also helps sufferers to adjust to the impact it can have on their lives - and the lives of their families.

Natalie Clapshaw is the manager of one of the centres: "the little everyday things that they used to be able to do - like getting the childrens' sandwhiches ready for school - is now a huge thing for them to do. Motivation can be really severely affected after brain injuries."

To listen to the full interview with Natalie CLICK HERE

This week is Action for Brain Injury Awareness Week with fundraising events going on across the county.

This year the emphasis is on the warning signs people need to look out for following a head injury and the information given out by accident and emergency departments.

Nick Hall, from Headway Devon, said: "Our main priorities will be to highlight the danger signs that require head injury patients to immediately return to hospital having been discharged, and highlight the need for high-quality information on post-concussion symptoms, which can persist for anything from a few days to several months or even years after the initial accident or injury."

He continued: "on returning home it is important that, if possible, you are accompanied by a responsible adult. While unlikely, there is a small risk of developing complications, so if you experience any of the following symptoms in the next few days you
should return to A&E as soon as possible."

The syptoms are:
- Loss of consciousness
- New deafness in one or both ears
- Loss of balance or problems walking
- Any weakness in one or both arms or legs
- Any vomiting
- Clear fluid coming out of your ears or nose
- Drowsiness when you would normally be wide awake
- Increasing disorientation
- Problems understanding or speaking
- Blurred or double vision
- Severe headache not relieved by painkillers such as paracetamol
- Bleeding from one or both ears
- Any fits (collapsing or passing out suddenly)
- Inability to be woken

You can find out more about Headway Devon here.