An update on Ryan

In 2013 Ryan Smith suffered a brain injury after a cycling accident. Speaking at the 2017 British Travel Awards his dad Mark spoke about his journey.

Four and a half years since Ryan’s accident, Mark Smith explained the difficulties they have faced and Ryan’s progress to date. Mark’s speech covered Ryan’s time in hospital, rehabilitation at The Children’s Trust and getting back into life at home…

The first few months

“July 22 2013 is the date a simple bike ride changed our son’s life, and ours, forever. “Whilst on this bike ride Ryan collided with a van, his head absorbing the impact. He was taken to A&E where we were told “your son will most likely not survive the day”. No parent should have to bare this news. “Ryan, being the determined young teenager he is, decided to defy his prognosis and although in a coma, he decided to fight. “We too decided to ignore this prognosis. “The next two months in hospital were hell. Ryan had continuous chest infections, spikes in temperature, endless tremors. The respiratory nurse didn’t hold out much hope. “As a family we persisted by his bedside, encouraging him to keep fighting, but we felt so frustrated by the lack of response. We were emotionally drained and could really see no light at the end of the tunnel. It was killing us all. “This all changed on November 4 when we met Liz from The Children’s Trust. She had travelled up the 200 miles from Surrey to meet and assess Ryan. I’ll never forget her words. “I see a lot of potential in Ryan”. We were speechless, our honest initial thoughts where “where?”. “Our boy was still unable to hold his own head up, talk, drink or eat. It was the first time in four months that we were given a glimpse of hope.”

Rehabilitation

Ryan’s recovery journey began at The Children’s Trust two weeks later. Mark spoke about the next nine months of “endless therapy sessions, which included speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, play and music therapy.” He said: “He was soon eating again, one of his favourite past times. “Physically, Ryan got stronger. His left side was weaker but his right side almost recovered. The physios worked both sides hard. Before his accident Ryan was extremely athletic and he was proving to be just as determined post-accident. “However, in amongst all of this, there was always time for a laugh. So important. “Ryan’s speech was improving too, some for the good, however, expletives were plentiful! No matter what though, it was always good to hear him again, to hear him expressing his own views again.”

Returning home

Mark continued: “After nine months at The Children’s Trust Ryan was ready to come home. “I’ll never forget the lovely Dr Gail’s words to us before we left. She said to us “you have lost the boy you had, but you will love the boy you have” A brain injury is a lifelong journey. A journey that we are still on. “I am so proud of how far he has come. He still continues to improve. His speech is fantastic.” Mark finished his speech with an update on Ryan. Ryan has returned to mainstream college where he is studying a media course; he has become “a bit of a local celebrity nicknamed The Blonde Warrior”; and he recently took part in the Superhero triathlon in aid of The Children’s Trust. Mark then thanked The Children’s Trust. We are extremely grateful Mark and Ryan have updated us on their journey. You can also read Ryan’s case study written in 2014 after his rehabilitation at The Children’s trust ended.
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