Helen suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident. This is a photograph of Helen

Annette’s daughter Helen, suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of 18.

Annette recalls the emotional story of how the traumatic brain injury has affected Helen and how she has “lost” part of her daughter.

Helen’s story has been presented in association with the charity Brain Injury is BIG. Brain Injury is BIG are dedicated to offering support, understanding and a network of care for people who have loved ones with a devastating brain injury.

Helen’s story

Helen. What can I say about Helen? She was a social butterfly, a challenge, a delight, my middle baby, unique. She is the middle of three sisters. She was 18 when she had her car accident. She is 25 now.

In the early hours of the morning of 27 September 2012, I was woken with a family’s worst nightmare – a phone call from the police saying that my daughter had been in a car accident. I rushed to John Radcliffe Hospital to be with her. They said she had a severe traumatic brain injury with damage to every part of her brain. Procedures were performed to save her life. The early prognosis was not good, but unknown. The days passed in a blur. All the time everyone was looking for signs of improvement in her. Eventually she settled down and was discharged to a local hospital on their High Dependency Unit where she spent the next three months before going to Holy Cross Hospital in Haslemere for neuro-rehab.

It certainly was a struggle and stress for our family to visit her as it was a fairly long travel time but the improvements that she made under their care were amazing. She had physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and occupational therapy. She emerged gradually from a vegetative state to a minimally conscious state. She had several visits to acute hospital and we almost lost her a couple of times but she pulled through. She had a craniotomy (her skull put back together) and she had her tracheostomy removed. Both of these made her appear more “normal”.

At the end of 2017, I started looking for somewhere closer to our home for Helen. Somewhere that her sisters, her dad, her grampy and her friends could visit her more easily. She is now less than half an hour from our home town and she gets visitors more frequently now than she ever did before. Now Helen seems contented. She is able to do some actions on command and her favourite trick is to put her middle finger up at everyone!! She certainly lets people know she is there!

And me? I mourn the young lady she should be. The daughter I have “lost” but not lost because she’s still there in front of me. I see her sisters growing up around her, her nieces and nephews growing up without ever knowing her properly. I see her peers getting married and having children, having careers and buying houses and I grieve for that. But she has improved so much more than anyone could have hoped for and this is down to the professional and skilled help that she has received throughout her journey and down to her sheer bloody-mindedness!!

For me, my help has come from knowing that I am not alone – that others have gone through similar emotional roller-coaster rides. People I can share my highs and lows with, people who can give me advice when I need it. People who can help me laugh and remind me that there is still so much in life to enjoy.

Photos of Helen

Helen suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident. These are pictures of Helen.

Brain Injury is BIG

“For me, my help has come from knowing that I am not alone – that others have gone through similar emotional roller-coaster rides.”

Brain Injury is BIG is a charity dedicated to offering support, understanding and a network of care for people who have loved ones with a devastating brain injury. Support is via an on line forum or their telephone helpline. Brain Injury is BIG also have a small grant scheme where families may apply for help towards costs associated with visiting their loved ones, or supporting their rehabilitation.

Brain Injury Group is proud to support Brain Injury is BIG via our annual charity golf day, raising in excess of £24,000 since 2013.

LAWS – providing initial free legal advice

Legal & Welfare Service (LAWS) online for brain injury help, advice and support

What is the Brain Injury Group?

Brain Injury Group is a free service designed to connect those affected by a brain injury (whether there is a claim or not) to a range of experts who may be able to offer advice and assistance.

If you’d like to find out more about the work of Brain Injury Group, you are at the right place! You can follow the links below to:

The Brain Injury Group exists to support individuals and families affected by brain injury and the health and social care professionals working in this specialist field. Our mission is to provide anyone affected by brain injury with access to advice on legal, financial and welfare benefit issues delivered by proven experts in the field who have been chosen not only for their skills and knowledge, but also for their passion and dedication to helping people.

As well as providing legal and welfare advice, Brain Injury Group provide training for legal, health and social care professionals. View our award winning Brain Injury Group brain injury training events.

The Brain Injury Group brain injury directory

The BIG Brain Injury Services Directory

How can Brain Injury Group help you?

If you would like advice about bringing a brain injury claim, capacity, deputyships, managing the award of compensation or any other aspect of brain injury welfare, legal or financial advice, we have specialist brain injury solicitors and Court of Protection solicitors who can assist.

You can find full details of Brain Injury Group members on our website or there are several ways to get in touch:

  1. Call us on 0800 612 9660 or 01737 852203
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Complete this short enquiry form and we’ll get back to you
  4. Find a specialist brain injury solicitor near to you