Sam’s Story
Sam Carson was 27 when he fell four stories at a party, in October 2009. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, and doctors at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital did not expect him to survive the night. He underwent major surgery and emerged from a coma days later. He was very unresponsive and could not smile or move, let alone walk or talk.

Sam’s prognosis was not good and his family was told that given his condition, with any improvement unlikely and not much hope for rehabilitation he would be sent to live in an aged-care facility.

But Sam showed signs of improvement before he was due to leave hospital, so two months after his accident was admitted to the Royal Rehabilitation Centre at North Ryde, one of the only facilities of its kind in New South Wales. Since then Sam has made significant improvements, with intensive daily rehabilitation including speech, occupational and physio therapies.

Sam has progressed to a stage where he not only recognises his family and friends but can also feed himself, can walk, although heavily assisted, and is showing signs of being able to talk. If Sam had been sent to an aged-care facility instead of the Royal Rehabilitation Centre it is almost certain that his condition would not have improved so remarkably, if much at all.

Sam’s life has true value and quality, yet he and his family are facing the same predicament of many other young people and the people that love them. There are few facilities in Australia that provide young Australians with an acquired brain injury a place to live where they can receive full-time care and still lead a youthful existence.

The vast majority of young people with brain injury end up in aged-care facilities. This is despite their largely unaffected intellectual capacity.

Lack of awareness of brain injury and minimal government funding means there are currently very limited alternatives to aged-care facilities for young people.