Colin Robertson is aware of he may have died when he was kicked within the head on an evening out, however it was virtually a yr earlier than the long-term impact of the brutal assault turned clear.
The imprint of a boot on his head and a fractured cranium had been the outward indicators of Colin’s accidents however he additionally suffered blackouts, dizziness and complications.
About 10 months later he felt an “explosion” in his mind whereas out biking.
A mind haemorrhage from the assault had led to a stroke and left Colin with out the flexibility to learn, write, communicate and eat.
At one level he couldn’t bear in mind the names of his youngsters.
The assault that modified his life was 14 years in the past and Colin has spent a lot of that point combating to recuperate from its results.
He has now been nominated for a prize on the National Brain Injury Awards, organised by the charity Headway.
It recognises his help for fellow mind harm survivors and their households in addition to his work educating youngsters.
Colin, who’s now 48, remembers “vividly” the evening he was attacked in Livingston in 2003.
He was set upon by three males on an evening out within the West Lothian city.
“I used to be within the unsuitable place on the unsuitable time,” he says.
Colin was knocked unconscious by blows to the top and, as he lay on the bottom, he remembers a younger lady leaping in to cease a person taking one other kick at his head.
“I felt at the moment if I had taken one other kick that was principally me, I used to be gone,” he says.
“Fortunately for me, a younger lady jumped throughout me and she or he took the kick as an alternative.
“In impact, she was one in every of many individuals who saved my life all through my restoration.”
Colin was handled in hospital for his accidents however a small bleed in his head went unnoticed.
“I knew one thing was unsuitable however I did not know what,” he says.
“Ten months later my head exploded whereas I used to be on my bike.
“I’ve by no means suffered a ache prefer it.”
He says: “I attempted to shake it off however it was like an explosion. There isn’t any possible way of describing it.
“It was a kind of ones the place you’re feeling you must clutch your head as a result of the blood had escaped and it had nowhere else to go and it was placing strain on the mind.”
Years to recuperate
Colin pulled off the street in ache and suffered a stroke.
“My left facet was gone so I couldn’t get off the ground,” he says.
“I attempted to tug myself up on a small wall, shouted for assist and fortunately a lady appeared and she or he made a name and I obtained to the hospital.”
He had three operations, together with eradicating a part of his cranium to have the ability to function.
After his stroke, Colin had stability points, his speech and reminiscence had been badly affected and he couldn’t stroll.
“Individuals discover it exhausting to maintain chatting to you since you are unable to talk at regular velocity,” he says.
“You discover out who your actual mates are.”
Colin, who nonetheless has epileptic seizures on account of accidents, says his street to restoration has taken years.
He had to make use of a strolling body – or a zoomer as he calls it – to get round and needed to utterly “retrain” his mind to have the ability to communicate correctly.
He says he tried to maintain as lively as attainable to assist together with his psychological and bodily wellbeing.
“The primary six months to a yr is the quickest a part of your restoration, thereafter it slows proper down,” he says.
“It may well get you down however then you definitely would look again and assume ‘I could not try this earlier than’.
“Even easy issues like going for a stroll works the mind so exhausting due to the co-ordination and watching what’s round.”
As time went on, Colin says he wished to assist others who had been fighting the affect of mind harm as nicely elevating consciousness and understanding.
5 years after his stroke, Colin started volunteering with mind harm charity Headway.
He has since given talks to 10,000 college pupils and 500 educating employees in a bid to forestall cycling-related head accidents.
He says: “We’re encouraging youngsters to put on helmets not only for bikes however for scooters and skateboards.
“The purpose we’re making is for those who fall off any of those you possibly can maintain a mind harm.
“We’re giving them slightly perception into the mind and the way we have to defend it and the results of a mind harm.”
Colin has been nominated for the volunteer of the yr prize on the Nationwide Mind Damage Awards on Friday.