Charity’s drive to address aspersions cast on those with brain injuries

Cases of those who have suffered serious brain injuries being accused of being drunk – and even arrested on occasion – have prompted a new initiative to protect people from unfair assumptions.

The charity Headway has been issuing individuals around the country with Brain Injury Identification Cards, which explains their situation and describes the side effects resulting from a head trauma.

The initiative – which is supported by the National Police Chief’s Council – was rolled out UK-wide this week and is designed to raise awareness within the criminal justice system.

Peter McCabe, Headway’s chief executive, said: “Many people are assumed to be drunk as a result of having slurred speech or an unsteady gait, with attempts to explain the effects of their brain injury often being ignored.”

This month, the BBC interviewed Dominic Hurley, who has had several bad experiences as a result of people misinterpreting his symptoms.

Mr Hurley was just 21-years-old when he was badly injured in a moped crash in Cyprus.

Although his recovery confounded doctors’ expectations, the incident back in the 90s left him with memory problems, difficulties with speech and poor balance.

On three separate occasions, the father-of-one has been arrested by police who had come to believe he was intoxicated.

The first instance came after he complained about the food at an Indian restaurant, the second after he had tried to get a taxi home with friends and the most recent when he was in close proximity to a fracas at a pub.

Mr Hurley said he was very impressed by Headway’s initiative.

“All the problems started because people assumed I was intoxicated. I think the card is a great idea. You can work hard to raise awareness but you may not reach every police officer and that is where the ID card comes in.

“I want to be able to tell people rather than have them wondering what’s wrong with me. It’s just a better way of doing it.”

  • At Almond Care our staff have the specialist training required to support those living with brain injuries. For further information about our services, please contact us today.