A Carrickfergus man who was left unable to smell or taste after sustaining a traumatic brain injury in a motorbike accident has thanked the charity that helped rebuild his life.
Arthur Moore is urging local people affected by brain injury to seek support from charity Headway Belfast early on in their recovery to help minimise social isolation and manage the range of other physical and cognitive effects brain injury can cause.
Arthur had been taking his new motorbike out for a spin on his 18th birthday in 1978 when he was involved in an horrific accident. He was left with a traumatic brain injury which, even four decades on, still causes him to struggle with an intolerance to noise, severe mood swings, social isolation and loss of taste and smell (anosmia).
With the support of Headway, Arthur, now a father of two, is finally beginning to rebuild his life and hopes his story will help others affected to seek help earlier in their recovery.
“After the accident I had no confidence,” said Arthur. “Although I received support from my friends and family, I became very withdrawn and would often sit on my own. Even when I was eventually discharged from the hospital, it was the beginning of a long journey of years of operations and recovery.
“One of the biggest problems I faced after sustaining my brain injury was an intolerance to loud noises,” he said. “Sitting in my room alone became the norm and I quickly became very isolated and lonely after the accident.”
Yet more health challenges were around the corner for Arthur which made it clear to him that he needed more support.
It wasn’t until three decades after sustaining his brain injury that Arthur first heard about Headway.
He says: “Headway’s services have helped a lot. I have had the opportunity to talk with other people who have brain injuries, which have helped to rebuild my confidence. It is great to say that I am now surrounded by a lot of like-minded people. Since joining Headway, I’ve achieved more after brain injury than in the 30 years of muddling through recovery on my own. My family are so proud of me and my progress. My message to others that still face long-term effects even decades after their brain injury is: do not be too scared or intimated to seek help from Headway. Everyone is supportive and friendly, and the groups will help to lift you up.”