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Focus on Brain Injury

Brain Injury Survivor Tours America

Prior to Sam’s accident he was a confident, happy and popular seven year old who loved football and motocross racing.

In April 2004, he was involved in a motocross accident when two adult riders crashed into him.

SamSam lost consciousness and was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, spending two weeks in Paediatric Intensive Care. Sam’s parents were advised that he had sustained a very serious head injury and a fractured left elbow. Initially doctors said it was unlikely that Sam would survive and that if he did, he would have very little quality of life.

Sam was discharged home to the care of his parents in June 2004 and very gradually began to respond. After tremendous family support and a period of six months intensive rehabilitation at The Children’s Trust, Tadworth, Sam surpassed all expectations by returning to his primary school in October 2005. Sam has remained at school and volunteers one afternoon a week at the local Children’s Trust Shop. Sam recently passed his driving test and had his first experience of independent travel to America.

Sam’s Case Manager, parents and treatment team have all worked hard to ensure that Sam’s life was brought back on track with the help of a specialist rehabilitation programme.

Discussing his recent trip to America, Sam said: "I flew to New York with a friend and met up with an amazing bunch of people. The sightseeing was amazing! From there we went to Washington and onto some fab places. I slept out under the stars in tents and then at hostels. We went go-karting in Nashville, and stayed opposite Graceland in a campsite which my mum was very excited about.

"My confidence really grew as the trip went on and we all worked together chipping in with cooking. I held an alligator on a swamp tour in New Orleans and went to NASA Space Centre. We met up with other tour groups there too so I really had the chance to come out of my shell and meet other people. The things I did were amazing, such as getting up to watch the sun rise and sleeping beneath the stars at the NASA Space Centre. I even had a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. Wow! It was so big and vast! I had the best time of my life and didn’t want it to end.”

Katy James, Head of The Children’s Trust Brain Injury Community team which supported Sam on his return home, said: “Sam’s adventures in America sound fantastic, we’re delighted that he’s getting on so well. It’s a real tribute to Sam that he hasn’t let brain injury deter him from achieving his ambitions.” 

Sarah Griggs, Associate Solicitor who managed Sam’s case commented: “Sam is a true inspiration and a really positive example of effective rehabilitation.”

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