Newry men feature in BBC documentary, ‘My Injured Brain’

March 12, 2018

A BBC1 True North programme which airs tonight, Monday March 12th, will feature two Newry men whose lives were changed forever following a brain injury. “My Injured Brain” follows the lives of Christopher Cunningham and Tony Dolaghan showing how they and their families are affected by their brain injury.

When Tony headed off to Bundoran for the weekend with friends and Christopher got into a car one day for a short trip, neither knew that their lives and the lives of their parents and immediate families were about to change forever. 

Tony fell forty feet over a cliff while Christopher’s journey ended in a car accident just outside Camlough. Both men suffered a life changing brain injury as a result of their accidents.

A brain injury turns lives upside down in an instant. It can have profound lifelong consequences, often more difficult because they are unseen. Self-confidence, moods, behaviour, adaptability and every other aspect of character can be altered, impossible to explain, challenging to live with. 

As the years pass a new self is often revealed and a new reality is lived. One of the key challenges for brain injury survivors is adapting to that new reality. Both Tony and Christopher lost their jobs along with many of their friends and relationships, with their personalities and abilities also changing as a result of their brain injury. Loneliness was a daily companion accompanied often by depression and frustration. To the outside world both looked exactly as they did before their injuries and so many people found it almost impossible to understand their situations.

The “My Injured Brain” TV crew followed the lives of the two men and their parents over a period of months last year and looked at how they have found support through The Brain Injury Foundation.

Frank Dolaghan, Chair of the Foundation and father of Tony says,

“The film director, Guy King, invested huge amounts of time in producing this documentary and he had tremendous empathy with all of those he interviewed and filmed. Aileen and I believe it is a very vivid and accurate portrayal of the massive effects of an acquired brain injury on both the survivor and their carers.”

Christopher’s father, Kieran Cunningham, told The Examiner,

“Christopher’s brain injury is quite recent, just a couple of years ago. It came as a complete shock to myself and Bronagh. We had no idea what to expect and little realisation of the changes the injury would make to Christopher. Thankfully we were directed towards the Brain Injury Foundation and it is no exaggeration to say that the support we receive there has been life-saving.”

“My Injured Brain” will be shown on BBC One Northern Ireland at 10.40pm tonight, Monday 12th March and is expected to be repeated the following evening on BBC 2.

Further information on acquired brain injury and on the work of the Brain Injury Foundation is available from the Foundation’s website or from its offices at 30839943, email

A 24/7 helpline is available at 075966399943.