For Professionals

Definition of ABI

An acquired brain injury (ABI) is damage to the brain, which may be caused:

  • Traumatically, e.g., from an external force such as a collision, fall, or assault (including intimate partner violence)
  • Through a medical problem or disease process which causes damage to the brain, e.g., anoxia, non-progressive tumour, aneurysm, infection, stroke with diffuse cognitive deficits.

An ABI occurs after birth and is not related to:

  • A congenital disorder or developmental disability, e.g., cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism, spina bifida with hydrocephalus
  • A process which progressively damages the brain, e.g., dementing processes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease.

Source: Toronto ABI Network Definition of ABI, May 1999.