The best way to predict the future is to shape it.
(Der beste Weg, die Zukunft vorauszusagen, ist, sie zu gestalten.)

Willy Brandt (1913-1992

That requires initiative, a sense of responsibility, curiosity, energy, risk-taking, and courage. Maybe a sense of humour. Definitely inclusion and participation.

Pádraig is shaping the future of inclusive and participatory life and living for people who have suffered a devastating brain injury. He has demonstrated that what is normal for healthy people can also be normal for those whose life plan was adjusted.

Thinking about it: have you ever noticed that most things we don’t even think about anymore all of a sudden become very special, even exceptional or impossible to pursue, once someone with a severe brain injury wants to claim it?


  • Physical Activity – the Romans knew: mens sand in corpora sano; the World Health Organisations knows that everybody should do at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity.
  • Risk Taking – jumping off a cliff with just a rubber band on your ankle, diving with sharks, or climbing up some of the highest mountains on earth without oxygen are all accepted risks for fit and healthy people; they are being admired for being so brave to risk these mad adventures
  • Games – one of the world’s biggest industries where people experience adventures not easily accessible to them otherwise, like flying a plane, climbing a mountain, or driving a really fast car using virtual or extended reality.
  • Music – brings back memories, motivates you, relaxes you, helps to concentrate, makes you move and dance
  • Tastes, Smells, and Texture – all those sensory experiences, memories and expectations of far away places, summer holidays, winter walks, the wind in your hair, the rain on your skin
  • Company – being with your friends, meeting up, getting to know new people, being with people of your age, sharing your interests with them


If you suffer a serious accident and suddenly cannot pursue and experience the above anymore on your own, require support, then, all of a sudden, you need scientific evidence-based studies to prove that it is in your interest to continue doing what you always did and what others do every day.


And it’s getting worse.

If those experiences and activities are not described in government or health services strategies then pursuing them won’t even be be considered anymore by the system that you thought was there to help you along when you needed it.

How do I know this?

I didn’t until I was told last week by international (and national) expert evaluators of the An Saol Foundation’s Centre.

And until I spent three days at Germany’s biggest, most prestigious and most important Neuro Rehabilitation Congress.

Without a person affected, a rehabilitation customer, a service user, in sight.

It was “all about me without me“.

However, I also made great new contacts, interesting new friends, and learned about new products and publications.

It is clear, though, that Willy Brandt was right.

The best way to predict the future is to shape it.

In fact, the only way to look forward to a future where it is not the exception, but the norm, that those whose life has changed from literally one second to the next, will receive the support and services they need, as a matter of course, to do what is natural for us and what was natural for them before their accident – the only way towards this future, is to shape it ourselves.