The Brain

Our brains are very, very soft. Softer than the meat you would see in the supermarket. Not like the ones you would find in a lab which have been fixed and preserved with chemicals like formaldehyde making the brain feel solid and firm almost like a rubber ball. The brain in a living human floats around in a protective bath of cerebral spinal fluid and just because we have a hard skull around it does not mean we are invincible.

People do not realise just ONE major knock to the head (eg a fall, bicycle accident, rugby head collision) can cause irreparable damage to the brain. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Those affected people then have to live with that hidden trauma for the rest of their lives.

TBI: Get the Facts


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability to numerous people around the world. It can happen to anyone at anytime.
Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression).  These issues not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities.

What is a TBI?

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury).  Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions.

What are the leading causes of TBI?

  • Falls are generally the leading cause of TBI followed by the head being struck by or against an object.

  • Among all age groups, motor vehicle crashes were the third overall leading cause of TBI-related ED visits, hospitalisations, and deaths.

Concussion Awareness

In New Zealand falls are the highest risk of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) however sport is an area where it is the repetitive injury to the head and giving the brain enough time to recover.

We believe the culture is starting to change with regards to concussion awareness and attitudes. NZ Rugby now has a graduated return to play (GRTP) programme to assist anyone who has been diagnosed with a concussion or suspected concussion. Please refer to the first table below.

Sam Cane delivering some Concussion education

acc ‘all new claims’ 2017 - breakdown numbers

- nz rugby


where does brain injury happen?


Information Brochures - PDF format

International Facts - USA

Despite the media attention other illnesses command, it is interesting to note the number of people with a TBI in the United States is 8.5 times higher than people who suffer from breast cancer and 28 times higher than people with HIV/Aids. Yet the Brain Injury Associations still do not receive any where near the proportional rate of sponsorship. So if you would like to support the Brain Injury Association, Hawke’s Bay please click on the Donate button at the top of the page or find your local association to assist.

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA