A landmark conference raising awareness of acquired brain injuries was held in Kettering with medical experts, people living with a brain injury, support organisations and sports professionals.
The day-long event organised by the Northamptonshire Acquired Brain Injury Forum examined two key areas - sporting concussions and the criminal justice system.
Conference guests heard from a range of speakers including former professional footballer, Bobby Copping, who was forced to hang up his boots at age 19 due to a head injury.
Dr Keith Jenkins, chair of the Northamptonshire Acquired Brain Injury Forum, said: “Northamptonshire is home to many people living with the effects of an acquired brain injury, often relying upon support from their families or voluntary organisations such as Headway.
“Our conference speakers illustrated the personal impact of acquired brain injury, the risks of head injury inherent in contact sports such as rugby, and the challenges that can arise for people affected by brain injury when interacting with the police or justice system.
“Having the specialised brain injury rehabilitation, residential and support services located in the county, Northamptonshire is well-placed to contribute to the government’s Acquired Brain Injury Strategy - demonstrating how to deliver exceptional joined-up service provision. The Northamptonshire Acquired Brain Injury Forum seeks to link our county’s brain injury community together.”
Sharine Burgess, partner in Shoosmiths’ serious injury team and joint head of its Northampton office, said: “Every 90 seconds someone in the UK is admitted to hospital after an acquired brain injury. It cuts right across society, not just sport. That’s why conferences like this are so important - raising awareness of acquired brain injuries and the impact it can have on peoples’ lives.
“While we recognise that it’s impossible to eliminate risk, we are committed to helping mitigate it as much as possible through education, while supporting those with an acquired brain injury to improve their quality of life and gain new independence.”
Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering, led a session on the Acquired Brain Injury Bill. The Private Members Bill was first tabled in 2021 to make provision about meeting the needs of adults and children with an acquired brain injury. A consultation is currently open and the strategy set to be published by April 1, 2023.