Kevin was like any other 20-year old – active, social, and with his life ahead of him. He was studying a Bachelor of Applied Science in Exercise Physiology at the University of Sydney and balanced an internship with the Sydney University Football Club while working two jobs as a swimming coach and a bicycle salesman.
On Mother’s Day 2012, Kevin’s plans were put on hold when, while cycling with a colleague, Kevin’s bike hit a pothole and sent him headfirst onto the other side of the road. Despite wearing a helmet, the impact of the accident left Kevin with a serious traumatic brain injury.
“It was like beginning life again from square one. I pretty much lost 20 years’ worth of life skills!” says Kevin.
Every day at Royal Rehab was a series of intensive rehabilitation sessions to get Kevin back on his feet and doing tasks that would enable him to live as independently as possible again, like speaking, standing, walking, crossing the road and feeding himself.
“Those small things that everyone takes for granted mean a lot more when you can’t do it. Like it can’t be that difficult to wake up and go to the bathroom at night for everyone, can it? Wrong. It can’t be hard to get dressed by yourself in the morning? Wrong. It can’t be hard to prepare breakfast? Wrong. From personal experience, the most minute improvements after an injury means the whole world has changed,” says Kevin.
Throughout his 18 months at Royal Rehab, in addition to months continuing his rehabilitation as an outpatient, Kevin celebrated major milestones like being able to remember information and retain memories again, and progressing from sitting in a powered wheelchair to running in marathons and endurance events around Australia.
Kevin has also used his experience to support other brain injury clients in their rehabilitation journeys, having volunteered in Royal Rehab’s High Mobility Group sessions and shared his story in guest speaking opportunities at events such as the Royal Rehab Gala and City of Ryde Volunteer Recognition Awards. He has since resumed his studies in Exercise Physiology at the University of Sydney.
Rehabilitation and recovery is an ongoing process of learning and discovery. Having faced the odds and overcome countless obstacles, Kevin has emerged with a renewed appreciation of life.
“Trauma can change a person in fundamental ways – it can change an individual’s inner strength, make small things in life more meaningful, or redirect their life to more rewarding goals. It seems that all applied to me!”