Joe Robinson

“Even though it was 3 lost weeks of my life, the past 5 years has been an on going battle”

I was 18 and had just returned from travelling on my gap year. It was April and I was ready to start my first year of University in September. I had returned from travelling early to surprise my family and I had just made it home to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We went over to her place for dinner and went out in Oxford for a few drinks. On the way home I stopped off to buy some chips and that’s the last thing I remember.

I was told afterwards that a car had pulled up and my good friend was in the back seat and they had offered me a ride. I got in the back beside my friend, who was sitting in the middle seat and we headed off. On the way they decided to stop off at a party but before we got there the driver lost control of the car and we rolled down the embankment. The car smashed into a tree right where I was sitting and my head slammed into the car. On impact my neck and back were broken in 5 different places, I fractured half of my skull and my parents were told that it was highly unlikely that I would make it through the night.

When they got me to the hospital they put me in an induced coma and told my parents that it was now up to my body and the drugs to bring me through it. I could no longer, walk, talk, eat, drink or even think. After 3 weeks of being in the coma and having suffered from MRSA, pneumonia and meningitis they brought me out and I had to start my rehabilitation. I had completely forgotten everything, every aspect of my life to the extent that I didn’t even recognise my own family.

My Mum and Dad came to the hospital everyday to help me with my therapies. I was now in a wheelchair and had to attend speech therapy to learn how to talk again. Before all of this I was playing semi-professional rugby, I loved running, I loved sport and now I couldn’t even tie my own shoelaces.

Although I can walk again it’s taken years of training and rehabilitation. I will never play rugby again. Rugby for me was my life, I loved everything about it. I now get upset when I watch rugby, and even get upset when I look at my old rugby pictures. I was also a keen cricketer and played at a high club and county level, however I have also had to stop that due to the problems with my eye sight (related to my brain injury). My life has completely flipped upside down”.

I suffer from severe back and neck pain and severe learning difficulties (due to the head injury). I had to put University off for a year and although I was a straight A student in school, I greatly struggle in exams and my inability to manage my time, concentrate and memory is a toxic formula. I have gone from being a flying student at school to a struggling student at University. I would do absolutely anything to go back to being how I was at school”.

My social life has changed, I can’t drink alcohol, due to the nature of my brain injury and my friend circle has changed due to not being able to play sport. “It has completely changed my life. Not a day goes by where I don’t suffer from the problems the crash has caused me.