Road traffic accident: Teresa and Jamie

Jamie's brave battle back from the brink: a journey of trials, tribulations and thankfulness.

Published: January 2015. Date of brain injury: 2005 (child aged 5 years).
McKees
Teresa with her son's Conor and Jamie several years ago. More photos of Jamie, since then can be seen further in the story
10 years ago Teresa McKee's son Jamie suffered a brain injury after being knocked down. To this day she cannot remember who the person was that sent her running to the scene of the accident. But she will never forget the sight of her son lying on the road. Jamie, who was five at the time, had been hit by a car at a crossroads in Dundrum, Co Down. The date was 23 January 2005. That was the day their lives changed forever. Jamie, who is now 15-years-old, suffered a bleed on the brain and two punctured lungs. He was taken to hospital and lay in a coma for a week. The prognosis was not good and doctors told the family there was little chance he would survive. If he did, they said he would probably never walk or talk again. They said it was likely, if he emerged from the coma, he would be in a vegetative state. However, Jamie proved them wrong.

Adaptations and watching my son start over againJamie

Jamie was finally discharged from hospital on 23 April 2005, after three months in the neurological ward. It was the start of a long journey back to health. Jamie’s brain injury left him with stroke-like symptoms down the left side of his body, which meant he had to learn to walk again. "Our house has stairs so we made the living room Jamie's bedroom," explains Teresa. "He began shuffling about on his bum, then he learned to crawl and eventually stood up and was getting about with a walking frame. "As a mother it was at times difficult to have to watch him start over again." 

 Acceptance and dertermination

"Jamie has been very accepting of what happened," says Teresa. "He just says 'that's life'. He takes it all in his stride and is so determined. His attitude has kept me strong. "He started walking unaided a year after the accident." Jamie has undergone many operations since the accident to improve his walking ability and will continue to do so as he gets older. He has physiotherapy sessions every week and attends regular hospital appointments.

Looking to our future 

Teresa doesn't blame the driver of the car for what happened. "It was just a freak accident," she says. "They weren't speeding or under the influence. Jamie ran out from between two cars. It could just as easily have been me driving down that road. I am not bitter about it." She said Jamie's determination and indomitable spirit has kept her and the family going. "I am just so thankful that he is alive. When he was in the hospital I just kept thinking 'Please God let him live.' "I thought, just allow him to be able to recognise me when he comes around - I can deal with anything after that. We are so grateful he is doing so well now. He is such a cheeky chappy, but a loveable one." Jamie is continuing to successfully manage the effects of his brain injury and loves spending time with his friends and playing football.   Click here to find out how the family marked the 10th anniversary of his accident and celebrated how far Jamie has come. The family were supported through the ordeal by the Child Brain Injury Trust Northern Ireland team, which trained teachers and staff and Jamie’s school so they were better equipped to meet his needs. Thank you to the Mourne Observer where we initially sourced this story.
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