More than 400 people attended another successful round of Head Injury Information Days (HiiD) in Edinurgh and Glasgow this month.
At the events, brain injury survivors and healthcare experts from across the UK were able to access vital information on recovery and rehabilitation, innovative technology, supportive services and hear inspiring stories from brain injury survivors.
People with a brain injury can often feel isolated and don’t know where to turn to for help, so this year’s theme - ‘Wellbeing – living with a brain injury’ - aimed to bridge this gap.
Chris Stewart, Partner at Digby Brown and host of both HiiD events, said:
“Every day we work to support survivors of serious injuries and we’re proud to run these events knowing the help they provide.
“Our aim every year is to create a platform where those living with a head or brain injury, along with their carers and families, can come together and listen to a variety of informative sessions they can relate to.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to our speakers and exhibitors who generously shared their time with us in Edinburgh and Glasgow - we hope those who attended now feel informed, supported and empowered as a result.”
Around 170 people attended the Edinburgh HiiD event on Wednesday 10 May at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.
Those who attended met with experts across the healthcare sector and access services from 26 exhibitors.
They also heard from guest speakers Lewis Carmichael and Harry Davies.
Lewis, former Scotland and Edinburgh professional rugby player, spoke of his concussion that led to early retirement at the age of 26 and highlighted that more steps need to be taken to make the sport safer.
Harry, who suffered a brain injury after a road traffic accident when he was just 11-years-old, revealed Edinburgh HiiD was the first event of its kind he has ever been to and was delighted to give a motivational talk alongside his father, Nick.
He said: "It helped to have my Dad with me because you get his view and his perspective.
“When it's something important to me, probably the most important thing in my life really, it's nice to have someone there with me. It helped me a lot, especially with confidence.
"For my first time - brilliant. I was glad I did it. Happy to do another one."
Phelim O’Toole, Manager at Edinburgh Headway, said: “The whole day was flawless and so informative.
“As usual the guest speakers were amazing and when you are sat at the back of the room and see the shock and surprises on people’s faces and the nods of agreement you realise the importance of these days.”
Two weeks later on Tuesday 23 May an even larger crowd flocked to the Doubletree By Hilton in Glasgow for the second HiiD event.
Here, around 250 people accessed expert support from 34 exhibitors brought together by Digby Brown’s Serious Injury team.
This time attendees heard from brain injury survivor Pamela Jack – a superfit mum-of-two who suffered multiple life-changing injuries after being hit by a tractor while out on a morning run.
After addressing Glasgow HiiD on how to live well with an acquired brain injury (ABI), Pamela said:
"I've never shared my story before and I've probably always held back with friends because I have felt different, so it was nice to hear that there were other people in the same situation.
"Hopefully I carried a message to somebody who's maybe at the early stages of their recovery that things can get better.
"I can't believe how busy it is. It's a great idea - well done for putting it on!"
Steven Cochran, brain injury survivor and President of the Brain Injury Experience Network (BIEN), has been attending the HiiD events for several years and shared his story at the virtual event held in 2020.
He said: “These are the most fantastic things to come to.
“I’ve had two brain injuries and a stroke and coming here to hear people talk about what they’ve been through and how the groups they belong to are helping them is fantastic.”
Brain injury survivors were able to showcase their creativity at both events in an art therapy room manned by Edinburgh Headway at Edinburgh HiiD and Quarriers at Glasgow HiiD.
Head Injury Information Days are the only events of their kind in Scotland. If you missed the presentations you can watch them here:
Watch the video below to hear from speakers, exhibitors and people who attended the two events.