It?s the invisible injury
By BELINDA SCOTT
IF it happened to you tomorrow, you might never be the same.
Gail Pursey's life has never been the same since December 20, 1990, when a 17-year old heroin addict drove into her as she was unlocking her parked car in Strathfield.
The former Sydney theatre nurse, who was 29 and the mother of two young children, when the hit-and-run accident broke her pelvis and the major bones of her left leg, said yesterday her life and her personality had been changed forever.
Ms Pursey lost her profession, her ability to work, and her husband, who left her after the accident, saying she was not the same woman he had married.
As well, she has been left with physical problems, chronic back pain and continuing short-term memory loss.
The young hit-and-run driver, who said she thought she had hit a pothole, spent 12 months in a juvenile detention centre.
Brain injury affects about 70,000 people in NSW each year and 1300 of whom will experience long-term disability as a result. Your brain can be injured by accidents, strokes, drugs or infections.
The good news is that the Coffs Coast is a handy place to live if you are unlucky enough to suffer a brain injury, because Coffs Harbour's North Coast Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service team can help you and your family learn to live with it.
Ms Pursey said the service was convenient for brain injury clients and the service provided outreach, travelling to clients 'which you don't find in the cities' but on the other hand she said Coffs Harbour currently had no neurosurgeon or neuropsychologist.
n Coffs Harbour's North Coast Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service is located at 39 Victoria Street, Coffs Harbour, and can be contacted on 6652 2856. The multi-disciplinary team includes a neural physiologist, a clinical psychologist, an occupational therapist and a mental health nurse. The Ambulance Service is urging riders to wear helmets and passengers and drivers to use seatbelts and restraints in cars to avoid preventable head injuries.