Shaun was involved in a serious motorbike accident on the seafront in Great Yarmouth on the 15th April 2018. He was 32 years old and at the time was working as a mechanic and doorman of the pubs and clubs in the area.

Immediately after the accident, Shaun was taken by air ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridgeshire with life threatening injuries. He sustained an incomplete fracture (T7/8) and lesion on (T2) to the spine and was placed into a medically induced coma for 6 weeks. During this time, his family were told to prepare for the worst and asked to make several difficult decisions. A nurse later told Shaun that nobody thought he would survive.

Shaun remained ventilated in ICU for 4 weeks before being moved on to a ward where he received a limited amount of physio each week (around 2-3 physio sessions per week).

Early Rehabilitation

In June 2018, Shaun was transferred by ambulance to the Princess Royal Spinal Injuries Centre in Sheffield, where he completed their 3-month rehabilitation programme. During this time, Shaun received a 45-minute physio session and an OT session every day, he also had the option to go to the hospital sports club and completed the Back Up wheelchair skills course.

He was discharged on the 21st September back home, where his partner Kelly and the local council had made some minor adaptations to his home, including a stairlift and a wet room.

During his time in Sheffield, Shaun was made aware of STEPS by the clinical team at the Spinal Injuries Unit and his Case Manager from, Unite Professionals.

STEPS Rehabilitation

Shaun arrived at STEPS on the 16th June for a 6-week intensive rehabilitation programme, funded by interim payments from his insurance company.

As with all STEPS clients, Shaun underwent a detailed assessment prior to arriving at STEPS, so when he arrived the focus of the discussions were on the different rehabilitation options available and his goals and preferences.

He was moved immediately into the Independent Living Apartment, which not only allows him privacy, it also enables his partner Kelly, and son Ricky (14) to visit him and stay with him at STEPS.

“STEPS has a positive buzz around it, the staff are always laughing. Throughout this whole process, I’ve only ever felt like a number but since arriving at STEPS I’ve felt like a person again, with my own goals.”

Intensive Rehabilitation – example programme

Shaun’s programme is 6 weeks of intensive therapy sessions, an example week is below:

Rehabilitation timetable at STEPS

In just the first three weeks of his intensive programme at STEPS, Shaun saw a number of improvements. After just one week he noticed some minor control on his left leg.

He now has more hip flexion and improved control of his knee.

Before his accident, Shaun was extremely active and enjoyed physical activities such as boxing and kick boxing.

“During my second week, Sophie, my technical instructor noticed I wasn’t myself. At the end of our next session, she took me outside, and we did some boxing. In her own time, she’s also been in touch with the wheelchair rugby guys, which is something I’m really looking forward to.”

In his third week, Shaun walked in the swimming pool during a hydrotherapy session and has progressed further, doing so with ankle weights.

“The more physical I am, the better I am mentally. I hated being treated like I was made of glass by everyone and love that STEPS push me to my limit.”

As a focused and determined individual, Shaun’s current aim is to walk from the back door to the front door of STEPS on his final day with the use of a walking frame.

“When I first left Sheffield and returned home in September I didn’t leave the house unless it was for a physio appointment. This is ‘take-2’, after just 3 weeks at STEPS I already feel fitter, better and more positive.”

What next for Shaun?

Shaun initially appointed a solicitor recommended to him by his motorbike insurer. Having undertaken some of his own research Shaun, ultimately decided to appoint a different solicitor to conduct his personal injury claim.

Shaun instructed Chris Smith, of Stewarts, Leeds. Shortly after instructing Chris a further interim payment was agreed and Shaun is now due to return to STEPS for a further period of rehabilitation on 9 September.

Shaun is currently teaching himself software engineering, with a view to getting a job once he has completed his rehabilitation programme.

He also plans to ride an adapted motorbike at Silverstone with ‘The Bike Experience’, a charity set up by Talan Skeels-Piggins in 2011 which teaches and advises motorcyclists who have been injured how they can ride again, through the provision of adapted and modified motorcycles in a safe environment.