Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Brain injury survivor inspired to study

A student whose recovery from a brain injury as a teenager inspired her to study rehabilitation techniques, is graduating with a PhD from Queen’s University’s School of Psychology this morning (Thursday, July 7).

Niamh Kennedy, from south Belfast, now a lecturer in stroke recovery at the University of East Anglia, was only 14 when she fell ill with what she and her family believed to be a bad dose of ‘flu.

She said she got worse instead of better and her family took her to the doctor. That led to a series of medical tests that revealed she had a tumour and to three episodes of neurosurgery, the last one of which led to complications.”

She said: “I was very lucky, and I became aware that some of my fellow patients were not making as good a recovery. That made me curious and inspired me to try to find out why. I went on to study Psychology and did my undergraduate thesis on experiences of children returning to school after brain injuries. I went on to investigate techniques that could be used in stroke rehabilitation which led to me receiving my PhD.

“In my view, we need more research into brain injury and strokes.” she added.

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