Being young with an acquired brain injury may cause challenges in relation to normal development and future life. Through a hermeneutic-phenomenological van Manen-inspired framework it is sought to describe the lived experience of being young (age 15-25) with an acquired brain injury in the early stages of rehabilitation. Semi-structured in-depth interviews with three young patients are analyzed using a thematic analysis guided by van Manen’s five lifeworld existentials. We found that young people strive to find themselves anew in their identity development. They experience a changing identity influenced by improvements of function and realization of their condition during hospitalization. Social interaction with their network and young fellow patients – as well as an appreciative approach focusing on improvement – seems conducive conductive to young people’s re-identification process and self-image following the acquisition of brain damage during the hospitalization.

Keywords: acquired brain injury, development of identity, hospitalization, social interaction, young adult