A CYCLIST who narrowly escaped death after being dragged under a lorry’s wheels has called for better support for brain injury victims.
Steven Wakeman was 19 when the collision occurred in July, 2009, as he crossed the A314 towards Hanworth Library on his way to work.
Miraculously, after being pulled along for about 30 yards he was able to free himself and crawl out from under the vehicle once it stopped.
He spent a week in intensive care, having suffered brain damage, injuries to his liver and kidneys, and a fractured ankle and foot. He also needed skin grafts to his fingers, eyelids and knees.
Four years on, the 23-year-old, of Target Close, Bedfont, still suffers from brain injury, which has caused his epilepsy to return and left him struggling with anger issues.
Speaking during Action for Brain Injury Week, which ended on May 19, he said: "When I got dragged under the wheel and my head was ground against the road I thought I was dead. Ever since that day, I’ve been under a lot of stress.
"I’m trying hard to return to fitness and have regular physiotherapy but I’m restricted in what I can do physically, which can really bring me down. The brain injury in particular has affected my moods, causing me to be angry and depressed, which is sometimes difficult to deal with.
"From my experience, support for people with brain injuries could definitely be improved, because it has a major impact on your life."
Brain injury specialist Ciaran McCabe, of Moore Blatch Resolve, who is pursuing Mr Wakeman’s case for compensation, believes his ongoing problems highlight the need to improve services.
He said: “We hope Steven’s story will help to raise awareness of the seriousness of brain injuries and the hidden impact they have on people, who can appear the same but are actually having to deal with new challenges such as memory loss, mood swings, crippling headaches and depression.”
Mr McCabe is also chairman of the South of England Acquired Brain Injury Forum (SEABIF), which is campaigning for measures including:
appropriate commissioning for specialist brain injury rehabilitation to be made compulsory
a funded national neuro network
a national audit of rehabilitation services and better monitoring of people with newly acquired brain injuries.