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The Contusio Cerebri Foundation (Stichting Contusio Cerebri Fonds)

Brain Injury and then what?

In 1990 Andrea Willemsen was riding her bicycle when an oncoming motorcycle hit her. She was given the diagnosis of severe concussion of the brain.Eight years later she is still severely impaired in her ADL, or Activities of Daily Living.
To regain the ability to write, and to restore contact with her husband, she began to write a series of short notes. These evolved into the book ‘My life after Brain Injury’. In it she describes from ‘within’ the experiences of someone who suffers from ‘Contusio Cerebri’.

“Two days after the accident it dawns on me that there is something seriously wrong with my head. Joost writes in my diary that I was moved from the semi-care unit the previous day and that X-rays were made. I don’t know anything about this. He is surprised that he has to write it down for me because I can’t find yesterday in my diary. But when you don’t know what day it is today, you also don’t know what day it was yesterday.

Then I try to write down who came to visit. I am very surprised that two dear old aunties apparently came to see me, because I can’t remember their visit at all”.

Excerpt from: ‘My life after Brain Injury’.

What is Contusio Cerebri?

Contusio Cerebri is the scientific name for contusion of the brain, a traumatic brain injury. Around 160,000 people in the Netherlands suffer from some form of brain injury, mostly due to traffic accidents. Twenty per cent of the Dutch population is affected directly or indirectly by brain injury. The exact number of Contusio Cerebri patients is not known, but we do know that their number increases by some 30,000 every year.
Contusio Cerebri is an invisible affliction. And there is no medication to treat it. Compare it with a jelly, captured loosely in a pot. Every time the pot is hit or shaken, the jelly contracts and expands again. Our brain does the same when our skull is hit. This can cause small injuries, which damage the nerves.

The result of the damage can show itself in many different ways, for example:

  • Disorders in our memory, concentration and coordination
  • Emotional and Personality changes
  • Inability to cope with stress.

It is important to also mention the strong implications for the family and social environment.