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Drama Student Who Suffered Brain Injury Hopes His Recovery Battle Will Inspire Others

Serious Injury Lawyers Support Headway’s Action For Brain Injury Week


By Suzanne Rutter

A keen drama student who suffered serious head injuries in a road traffic collision when he was just three-years-old hopes his recovery will help inspire other people going through similar ordeals as the country marks Headway’s Action For Brain Injury Week.

Curtis Boylan, from Halston in Leeds, was hit by a car in April 1997. He suffered a severe brain injury which led to cognitive and physical difficulties, including some paralysis to the left side of his body.

Despite his ongoing problems with fatigue, concentration, impaired memory and mobility issues, Curtis has been determined not let his injuries hold him back and is now in his first year studying drama at Leeds City College.

The 19-year-old now lives with his mum, Carol, and older sister, Vicky, in a specially adapted house and enjoys an active and busy lifestyle.

Specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured Curtis a multi-million pound settlement in October 2009 to meet the various needs he will have for the rest of his life. The firm’s Court of Protection team now helps to manage the funds which provide specialist equipment and therapies, as well as a case manager and a support worker who help him maintain his independence.

Curtis hopes his experience will help raise awareness of Headway’s Action For Brain Injury Week, which takes place until 19 May, and will help other people suffering similar experiences come to terms with their injuries.

Martha Sweet, a serious injury expert from Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, who represented Curtis, said: “The past 16 years have been an incredible learning curve for Curtis and his family; it has been vital to put in place the right support for them, to help them gradually come to terms with the consequences of the terrible brain injury Curtis suffered.

“Curtis has a case manager and support workers to help him with day to day life, and he also has input from an occupational therapist who is helping him learn to live more independently. His settlement enabled him to purchase a specially adapted house and car suitable for his needs, as well as aids and equipment so that he can get the most from life.

“We know from working with clients like Curtis, whose lives have been affected by brain injury, how important it is to have access to the best possible advice, care, rehabilitation and specialist support like this to help them maximise their potential after injury. It’s also important to support the family around the injured person, because they are the ones left picking up the pieces.

“That’s why we have always been a champion of charities such as Headway, who raise awareness about the dramatic and life-changing impact brain injuries can have on people’s lives.

“Curtis’ experience shows that even after such serious injuries, there can be a positive outcome and there is support available to help you re-build your life and make the most of your abilities.”

Following the crash Curtis was rushed to the Accident and Emergency Department at St James’ University Hospital in Leeds, before being transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care unit at the Leeds General Infirmary where he underwent treatment and monitoring. He spent nearly three months in hospital but was finally allowed home in July 1997.

The youngster received extensive therapy, such as physiotherapy and speech and language therapy sessions, to help him relearn basic skills such as walking and talking. Curtis attended the West Oaks School in Boston Spa, where he thrived.

Despite the challenges he has faced he is currently studying drama at Leeds College and is part of a drama group which recently took part in an anti-bullying campaign with ex-Coronation Street actress, Gaynor Faye. He has recently become an active member of the Headway group in Leeds and enjoys the social activities they organise.

Curtis said: “I can’t remember life before my accident, but it has been hard growing up and being different to my friends and other people my age. But I haven’t let it hold me back and I try to concentrate on what I can do, rather than what I can’t.

“I love my drama course as it’s helped build my confidence and gives me an outlet to really express myself.

“I’m so grateful to my family, particularly my mum, and to the support team Irwin Mitchell helped put in place for me. They are always there to support me and help me through any difficulties I face and I certainly don’t think I’d be leading the active life I do without the support and access to rehabilitation I’ve had - it’s made a massive difference to my life.

“The next goal I’m working towards is living on my own and gaining even more independence, which I think will be really exciting and rewarding for me.

“I hope my experience shows other people who are either going through something similar themselves, or who have a friend or relative who has suffered a brain injury, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

“Headway’s Action for Brain Injury Week is so important because it shows what people like me are going through and how crucial it is to get quick access to the right rehabilitation, support services and help from charities.”

Our serious injury claims team could help you claim compensation if you have suffered a serious head or brain injury as the result of an accident. Visit our Brain & Head Injury Claims page for more information.