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Brain Injury Centre Opened By Survivor's Mother

Darlington Facility Tipped To Help Transform Lives


A new centre for brain injury treatment is being opened in Darlington, with the ribbon being cut by a mother whose child showed just what can be achieved by survivors of traumatic head injuries.

When Abbie Thornton, from Coulby Newham near Middlesbrough, was run over just days after her fourth birthday 11 years ago, she almost died at the scene. It was only after screws were inserted into her skull that the pressure on her injured brain was relieved and she was able to breathe again, the Northern Echo reports.

However, at the time, her parents were told she would never walk and talk. Now, she is not only doing both, but living a normal life and studying for her GCSEs.

All this was thanks to her mum Debra, who carried out online research on head injuries and managed to obtain therapies for Abbie that helped her make an incredible recovery.

She told the paper: "Nobody should be written off ever. I was told by professionals that she would not achieve any of these things, that I would be her carer for the rest of her life."

A trustee of the Darlington and District branch of Headway, Ms Thornton said the new centre will help to ensure that families are better able to cope with having children injured in the way Abbie was, while giving victims the best chance of recovery.

She noted: "There's no such thing as a typical brain injury, so what we want to do is deliver services specifically aimed at the client."

As well as the need to help victims, Ms Thornton noted that having more support can also help the wider family, with 85 per cent of families breaking up under the pressure of the situation.

Abbie Thornton's story is one of many inspiring tales of people who have received severe head injuries.

Luke Flavell, a 22-year-old living in Dudley, was nearly killed by a car accident in 2012, but his parents refused to have the life-support system turned off. He has now made a substantial recovery and hopes to eventually return to his old job at the AA.

Mr Flavell told the Headway website it is vital survivors "don't give up".

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious head or brain injury as the result of an accident, our serious injury claims team could help you claim compensation. Visit our Brain & Head Injury Claims page for more information.

Expert Opinion
The launch of this facility is a very important step in improving and extending the treatment and healthcare facilities available for young people who have suffered brain injuries. We have represented a number of people who have suffered serious brain injuries, with many of our clients facing a very long road to recovery. Therefore, it is vital facilities such as these are created and that they continue to offer the help and support victims of head injuries require throughout their recovery.

“Facilities such as this one will help children suffering with a serious brain injury to access the treatment and support they need in one place, as well as providing their families with a support network to help them deal with the issues raised when a child suffers a serious brain injury.”
Neil Whiteley, Partner

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