One punch to the face of 27-year-old Bav sent him crashing to the ground. He hit his head on the kerb and suffered severe brain injury.
Bav’s assailant was jailed for four and a half years for this unprovoked attack but for Bav the sentence has been for life.
He was rushed to hospital and put into an induced coma. Whilst in the coma he had a stroke which paralysed the right hand side of his body.
Bav had been hit by a double whammy – brain injury and paralysis. When he came out of the coma he was unable to recognise anyone, unable to move, unable to speak.
‘I had to learn everything again,’ Bav says, ‘how to walk, how to speak and how to read and write again. I had to work out who my mum was, who my dad was, who my friends were. I just didn’t know anyone and I cannot describe how lost I felt.’
It was when he was moved to the rehab centre that the battle for recovery began. Now, six years on, Bav is making good progress though there are still enormous difficulties.
‘I have lost a lot of my sight permanently but I can talk now, though I often have to struggle for the right words. I can read simple stuff, though I used to be a big reader before the attack.’
‘Without doubt one of the best things in my recovery was going to Headway. I used to be ace with computers but of course forgot all that, but slowly at Headway I have learned some skills again.’
Bav is now looking for work though intense fatigue in the afternoons is still a hurdle. And he can no longer drive so is dependent on buses.
‘At Headway I joined HABIT, the rehabilitation course and it was so good to talk with a group of other people like me, who understood how it is and who have the same kind of problems. Before my dad died one of the many things he did for me was to find out about Headway and come with me to my first meeting.
‘You know, that was my turning point. This is my second life. In the ambulance apparently they thought I was dead. But here I am, and I am learning something new every day.’