Solihull Sportsman Speaks Out For Brake’s Road Safety Week
A 19-year-old talented teenager who aspired to be a professional football coach was left in a coma for four months after being hit by a car overtaking a bus when he was crossing the road.
Charlie Fogarty, from Solihull, suffered a brain injury from the accident which led him to spend six months in a children’s rehabilitation centre in Surrey. Charlie now tours English football clubs as a motivational speaker and dreams of being a part of the Great British Paralympic Football team.
Before the road accident in 2012, Charlie had finished a four year stint at Birmingham City FC’s Academy and was playing for Milton Keynes Dons, but his life was turned upside down by the accident which left him needing to learn how to talk, walk, dress, and perform basic tasks again.
Charlie’s speech therapist referred him to Hilary Wetherell, Serious Injury specialist at law firm Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, to investigate his case and to establish that the defendant was driving too quickly for the circumstances – overtaking a bus in a residential area on a Saturday afternoon outside a church. His case successfully concluded earlier this year.
Charlie’s remarkable story is being shared ahead of Brake’s Road Safety Awareness Week (21-27 November) to highlight how travelling too fast for the conditions can devastate lives.
Road Safety Week is the UK’s biggest road safety event working to prevent road death and injury with the Brake Pledge – Slow, Sober, Secure, Silent, Sharp, Sustainable.
Five people are killed every single day by road accidents in Great Britain. Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for the conditions accounts to more than one in five fatal crashes, according to Department for Transport 2015.
Charlie’s father, Mark gave up his job as football coach for Coventry City FC to help Charlie’s mum, Sara with Charlie’s rehabilitation.
The accident, on March 17 2012, happened as Charlie’s younger brother Tommy was celebrating his eighth birthday. Charlie had got on a bus which unknown to him, had recently changed its route, and found himself in an unfamiliar area.
Charlie got off the bus and crossed over in front of the bus and was hit by the overtaking car. He was rushed to Birmingham Children’s hospital, and police informed his family who were at the party.
Charlie suffered a severe brain injury and came out of an induced coma 11 days later but remained in intensive care for a further four months.
He then spent six months at the specialist rehabilitation centre ‘Children’s Trust’ in Tadworth, Surrey.
Previously a bright boy at school, tests taken after the accident at the rehabilitation centre showed that Charlie’s educational memory in Maths and English was between level one and two – the equivalent to a year one child at the age of seven.
Charlie went back to school in Solihull with one-to-one support and was placed onto the Higher National Diploma in Sports Science. He now plays football for the West Midlands Centre of Excellence Cerebral Palsy team.
Charlie’s determination in his battle back to fitness and to inspire others earned him the Highly Commended runner-up in the Child of Courage category at the Pride of Birmingham awards 2014.
Hilary Wetherell said:
Expert Opinion“Charlie’s journey to recovery has been remarkable. He has demonstrated huge courage and determination and has been supported brilliantly by his family. At the beginning, his prognosis was very uncertain; it was not clear whether he would be able to walk or speak let alone get back to playing football.
“Charlie’s case settled in January earlier this year and was approved by the High Court. The settlement ensures that Charlie’s future needs are secure; the money will be invested and used to pay for ongoing rehabilitation, therapy and support that he needs.
“It has been brilliant to stay in touch with Charlie since then and to watch him gain in confidence and expand his horizons. He has travelled to Denmark to play in the Intercontinental CP Championships this year after being selected to play for the Northern Ireland CP team last year. He plays regularly for Solihull Moors FC Community team.
“Charlie came to our Irwin Mitchell Birmingham office to present to us during the Euro Championships in June and is now touring various football clubs of the country with his motivational presentation entitled #NeverGiveUp. Charlie is also regularly invited to speak to schools, colleges and charities.
“Charlie’s story is truly inspirational. He always wants to highlight the positives but is very aware that road safety, for all road users, is of paramount importance.
“Charlie and Irwin Mitchell LLP fully support Brake’s Road Safety Week and make the Brake pledge.” Hilary Wetherell - Partner
Irwin Mitchell’s #SaferJourneys campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of road safety. They have created an A-Z guide to promote safer journeys for winter months which encourages families, children, and cyclists to wear bright clothing in the dark nights and more. Read more about the campaign here.