Welcome to Survivor Stories

These are the stories of our Brain Injury survivors. 

Below, these beautiful families & individuals share with you how they sustained a TBI or ABI.

We wish them the best with their ongoing recovery. 


All stories are posted as anonymous to protect their identities and lives.

If you want to share your story, 

email dustoffbrainbust@gmail.com or join the private support group. 

Injury Sustained in 2018

Injury Sustained October 2018

Injury Sustained April 2018

Approximately mid 2018, a dedicated family man and hard worker suffered a 

serious motor bike accident while mustering on a station in western Queensland. 


He was flown from Barcaldine to RBWH with 6 fractures to his skull, broken eye sockets and collarbone. 


After 15 days in ICU he thankfully woke up.   

It was after 3 months of rehabilitation, he was released. 

On returning to western Queensland and been cleared for work in May 2019, he has found work with family friend. 


It helped him that they had a head injury in the past themselves, so they were able to understand the situation. 


They were happy to help get him back on his feet and working the industry he loved. 

Working on the land. 

 

Injury Sustained April 2018

Injury Sustained October 2018

Injury Sustained April 2018

Late in the afternoon while working on a car changing the springs, disaster struck. 


Just as he had tightened the last bolt, the jack holding up the vehicle collapsed. 


While he was lucky to only have impact to the right arm and legs, it left damage. 

This has left him with a compacted spine, memory loss and tissue damage to the knee. 


With stitches to his hand, damage to both shin and knees he is lucky to be up and about. 

Initially was unable to use his hand due to injuries but has made a great recovery. m


Credit to the friend that was on site with him. It was quick thinking that got him out from under the car and treated. 

Injury Sustained October 2018

Injury Sustained October 2018

Injury Sustained October 2018

At a young 19 years old, a car rollover with a caved in roof left this lady with a Brain Injury.

She has had 4 massive hematoma's spread through her brain and two fractures as well.

She was flwon to Brisbane Royal & Womens Hospital where she underwent an 8hr surgery.

A largely misunderstood thing with brain injuries, is that once you go back to work people think you are fully recovered. 

This is never the case. 


"I went back to work after 8 weeks, most people thought that was the complete recovery time and that I was all better". 


Months on, she still gets headaches daily, fatigue and mood swings.  


"Work colleagues sometimes pass off my struggles as laziness or just not wanting to be there, which is frustrating and unfair for myself".

No matter how a person sustains a TBI or ABI, the recovery is a long road. Some people never reach the end of it. 

Injury Sustained in 2009

Injury Sustained March 2018

Injury Sustained October 2018

A motorbike accident in 2009 while out working with cattle, left a man fighting for his life. Unable to recall the accident, next thing waking up in hospital. 


He was working in the outskirts of Tambo QLD when it took place.  Was taken to Blackall Hospital then to Augathella.

From there he was transported to Rockhampton, but a quick change in plans saw him taken to Brisbane. 


He had a bleed in the brain, but after being monitored was then released. 

"It’s the aftermath of this accident that rocked my family". 

He couldn’t drive a vehicle or work and had to be under constant supervision. The family struggled with putting 3 kids through schooling.


10 months later he was able to return to work but like many brain injury survivors, needed a rest/sleep throughout the day. Which is difficult to explain in the workplace. 


Several Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist were called on to help with ringing in the ears. With this being a problem, simple things like talking on the phone, being with a group of people or watching tv became a trigger. 


Several years went by constantly trying to fix or relieve the symptoms. As many find, he became easily frustrated mainly when working a big day with livestock. 


After 10 years, he has "come good" but it has been a long road to recovery. 

"It’s not always the amount of time to get out of hospital, it’s the recovery time that really tests a family".

Injury Sustained March 2018

Injury Sustained March 2018

Injury Sustained March 2018

At 31 weeks pregnant, working at a Feedlot as a Livestock Manager in what was to be another day on the job left this lady with a TBI. 


With her duties minimised to processing shed and ground duties, presented a simple job. 

Cut out a little steer on foot, nothing out of the ordinary that she hadn't done every other day of the week for the past 9 years 


As cattle tend to do... make it harder than needed. After blocking and trying to direct the animal, in a split second he turned & hit her head on in the stomach. 


She only had time to wrap her arms around her stomach to protect the baby. 

She has no further memory of the incident. 


Medical staff said it was lucky she bled from the ears at the time, as this helped relieve pressure from a brain swell and bleed. 


She was airlifted to Canberra Hospital and spent a week in the Neuro Ward. 

It was 2 days later that she realised what had taken place. Thankfully, baby was unharmed.

19 months later, a TBI survivor with a healthy baby girl. 


"I’m very lucky to only have some hearing loss due to the fractures through both inner ears, no taste or smell and very minimal forgetfulness. I’m back at work full time and juggle some work on the stock team at the feedlot, admin in the office at the feedlot and managing a 6000 ac sheep farm".

She also has a uncle with a severe brain injury from a motorbike accident many years ago. 


Injury Sustained mid 70's

Injury Sustained March 2018

Injury Sustained March 2018

An incident as a 10yr old triggered a lifelong struggle suffering from a ABI and Aneurysm. 


She has suffered migraines most of her life, with no relief from the pain. 2017 saw a huge struggle with this. But found help with massage from a nurse during her hospital stay.


She went for a CT Scan and they discovered an Aneurysm.  From this, was then admitted to hospital for test and observation in the Stroke Ward. 

This prompted transfer to the Sydney RPA for Angiography, surgery was then scheduled for 3 weeks later. . 


She was flown back to her local Hospital for a further 3 days and was released. 


After surgery she spent a further 4 days in hospital the continued recovery at home. 

Within 6 weeks, despite being told to restrict duties for 6 months she was back doing full farm duties even shearing sheep and riding Quad Bikes. 


Short term memory is still a struggle, constant sharp pains and feeling foggy is still present. 

She has yearly scans now to ensure all is well with ongoing recovery after surgery. 


at times, scans have shown one of her eyes had shifted forward within the skull. 

Giving her the sensation her eye "was popping out of my head"


A brain Aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in a blood vessel. 

There is a long list of symptoms that indicate you may have one. This can be addressed with your local doctor. 

The annual rate of rupture is approximately 8 – 10 per 100,000 people. 

Injury Sustained October 2018

Injury Sustained October 2018

Injury Sustained October 2018

It was her first day back at work. 


"We were just a bout to yard our mob of cattle into a night yard when one cow broke out of the mob".

"I didn’t make it very far when the cow fell over in front of my horse, we were travelling at such a fast pass she didn’t even have time to react and tripped straight over her".


   Living on a Station, the chopper radioed in for help from the closest clinic, the Kowanyama community Clinic.

 They sent an ambulance strike guy out to assist and she was placed into an induced coma. 

The Royal Flying Doctors transported her to the ICU in Townsville. 

She diagnosed with a closed head injury and a Bilateral Frontoparietal Traumatic Subarachnoid. 


She also suffered a fractured nose and a swollen elbow. 

While in ICU, Physio's worked on her arms and legs to prevent deterioration. 

She spent 2 weeks in a coma. 


"My arm was in a sling for at least a month as my left side was severely affected. 

I was not able to move my arm and my left leg was weak and still slower than my right leg."  

  "I had a traumatic fourth nerve paresis in my right eye so my eyesight was effected and I got a Squint Surgery done on my eye which was to help balance my eyes out". 


She then left Townsville and moved closer to home, staying in Dubbo NSW for a further month. 


CONTINUED >

Injury Sustained October 2018

Injury Sustained October 2018


CONTINUED...


She went on to continue therapy and joined a gym to increase strength, but still had to learn how to run again. 

"I still feel like I have a long way to go but I do see a huge difference in myself from when I first became aware of what happened to now". 

Returning to work was easy when you love your job she said and has found support in her friends and family. 

"He made returning to work less daunting and so enjoyable"   

This year has seen a new career present itself but not without daily struggles. 

She is now back riding again and can't imagine her life without horses, even buying a young one to break in. Living life to the fullest.

She still struggles with strength mainly in her left arm and fine motor skills in her hand. 

Simple task at work prove difficult because of this. But small improvements have been made. 

"If I could give advise to other in a similar situation this is what I would say, I know it’s truely hard but keep pushing through and be as strong as you can. Be brave and don’t hold onto the present because if you are struggling now it won’t be forever, you will get through it".

She pays thanks to her family, work colleges on scene of accidents, Kowanyama Clinic, Townsville Hospital,  Lordes Hospital, Physio team and friends. 

Injury Sustained 2018

Injury Sustained October 2018

Injury Sustained 2018

A horse accident while working at a Feedlot left her with no memory of the event and long term damage. 


After an incident with a bull, her and the horse were left with long term injuries.

Upon hitting the ground after being bucked off, her horse came tumbling down on top. 

Cracking her helmet leaving long term hearing and brain damage, also damaging the right leg and knee.


She was taken to the nearest hospital then airlifted to the Brisbane PA. 

A range of test and scans were taken to determine the damage. 


It was a quick 5 weeks before she was back into full duties and treated as if nothing was different. 


Almost 2 years later and symptoms are worsening. With hearing loss, all memory since the accident, dietary restrictions, inability to fully use right arm or leg, migraines, fatigue and many more. 


She continued to work until no longer could, holding a number of jobs from horse racing to cattle stations. But in each job, having a brain injury worked against her. 


Barriers many ABI and TBI survivors have in daily activities and interactions with friends is present but she has found relief with her horses. 


"Everyone assumes you're fine because you went back to work or posted a happy snap on social media, but they never actually ask what goes on behind closed doors". 


Reality is, she struggles to make it through the day from constant pain and limitations of her injuries.