Sacha's strength returns following accident

Sacha Saucek, eight, suffered a brain injury when a 47 stone tree branch fell on him.

Here his parents, Jo and Igor from Berkshire, talk about the frightening experience and the process of recovery and rehabilitation for Sacha.

Sacha with brother, Luka

Sacha’s accident happened during a school trip in July 2015. “He was excited for his school trip to Richmond Park, London. The hot, sunny weather was perfect for the children to run around and explore the woods,” Jo says. She then popped into work with daughter Stella, two, to do some paperwork. Two hours later she received a phone call from the school receptionist telling her not to panic but that there had been an accident and that Sacha had been hit by a tree and was unconscious Too upset to drive a colleague drove Jo and Stella to the park. Sacha had been chatting to a friend beneath a chestnut tree when a massive branch had suddenly fallen down. Both boys had started running for cover but Sacha had tripped on a stone and the falling branch had knocked him flat out. “When we arrived, I saw Sacha on the ground, next to a massive branch, surrounded by paramedics. I wanted to comfort him but doctors warned me to stay back. He was motionless and his clothes had been cut off so that tubes could be inserted into his body.” Police, paramedics and air ambulance arrived and battled to save Sacha. He was anaesthetised before being airlifted. Jo rang Igor, who rushed to the hospital and she was taken to the hospital in a police car. “When I arrived at hospital, I held Sacha’s hand but he had no idea I was there. He had broken both arms, his right leg, pelvis, a bone in his lower spine and five ribs. He also had a fractured skull and two bleeds on his brain. The doctor explained his injuries were like those of a car crash victim.”
The doctor warned Jo and Igor that 90 per cent of people never recover from such trauma. Later that day Sacha was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital and had surgery to remove fragments of skull from his brain. He was placed in an induced coma. After 12 days he was moved to John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, for specialist treatment. He spent his eighth birthday in a coma. “In the days that followed juggling hospital stays with caring for Sacha’s siblings, Stella and Luka, 11, was a nightmare.” Say Jo and Igor “One of us was always with Sacha. Thankfully we were all at his bedside when he eventually regained consciousness. He looked around for a few seconds then closed his eyes again. It terrified us. His eyes looked vacant and he didn’t recognise us. “Progress was frustratingly slow.” Sacha, who had always been clever and a keen swimmer had lost his speech and mobility and needed to use a wheelchair. Jo and Igor were told that Sacha could be permanently disabled and never eat or walk again. As Jo and Igor tried to come to terms with this news, their oldest son Luka said “It’s going to be fine.” Luka took role of protector of his little brother, constantly asking questions and talking to consultants. “He sat by Sacha’s side, pulling faces, doing dances and watching YouTube videos,” explain Igor and Jo. “Soon Sacha was smiling and a week later, as Luka was monkeying around, doing funny voices, we saw Sacha’s shoulders go up and down. There was no sound but we could tell he was laughing. “For the first time we dared to hope Luka was right. Maybe Sacha would be fine.” Sacha started making quiet sounds. “Although it was gibberish at first, it soon began to make more sense.”
Sacha with his family after his accident
During this time friends and family rallied round and set up a fundraising page to raise money for the family’s travel to hospital and accommodation. Physios worked with Sacha, who showed promising signs of improvement and after a month he was transferred to The Children Trust in Tadworth, Surrey for intensive rehabilitation. After two months at The Children’s Trust Sacha was allowed to return home. He now has a limp and suffers from tiredness and fatigue. His parents say: “He still doesn’t talk about the accident. We don’t know whether that’s because it’s too traumatic or he wants to move on.
“We since found out that the branch that hit him was 47 stone. Just hearing it makes us shutter. His recovery is a miracle.”
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