On the 5th August 2020 Ed was working as an underwriter for a large insurance company in London. He had begun working there when he joined the graduate scheme after completing his geography degree at the University of Bristol. Ed’s life and career were on track, and he was, like you’d expect from a young man his age, living life to the full.

On the day of the accident, Ed was cycling to view a flat with his girlfriend when he was struck by a van cutting across his lane in the road. His head struck the side of the van knocking him unconscious. When reflecting on that moment, Ed recalls feeling his neck jolt and shortly afterwards lying on the tarmac with a feeling of great relief that he could still feel his legs. Someone helped him up and called an ambulance; Ed also called his girlfriend to explain what had happened and that he wouldn’t make it to the flat viewing as planned.

Ed was taken by ambulance to The Royal London hospital where initial scans revealed that he had suffered several bone fractures in his cervical spine, however, he was reassured and told he would be “fine” after wearing a collar for eight weeks.

He remained in hospital overnight and the following day, underwent further scans which revealed that the damage was worse than they originally thought. Scans revealed that he had in fact suffered damage to an artery in his neck which had the potential to cause a life-threatening stroke. He was treated with blood thinning medication and moved to a specialist ward where he could be closely monitored.


“I remember waking up the following morning and being relieved I hadn’t had a stroke. I remember looking at the amazing view over London from my window when I started to feel very dizzy, I got back into bed and then felt the left side of my face start to go numb on one side. I knew what was happening, I knew I was having a stroke.”

Scans confirmed this to be the case, but also revealed that he had a thrombus in an artery in his brain. Doctors treating him said it was too risky to operate because of its location, and that the next 24 hours were critical. The area of his brain affected was the brain stem and the cerebellum, which meant there was a significant risk of him suffering a brain stem stroke.

Thankfully over the following three days Ed remained stable.

It was at this stage Ed was advised to get a solicitor to represent him in a claim against the van driver. He asked his parents to make the decision on who he should appoint and following a personal recommendation they chose Jennifer Buchanan at Fieldfisher, a solicitor specialising in serious injury claims.


Ed was told by a doctor at the hospital he might not get any better, however he began to improve a little each day and was soon able to get out of bed and shuffle around and shower himself. Once he had progressed to being able to use the stairs, and Ed was discharged home to his parents' house, just 12 days after the accident had happened.

The rehabilitation team, particularly Ed’s appointed case manager through his legal claim, recommended that Ed should be discharged into a specialist rehabilitation unit. Not many options were suitable due to the pandemic.

Jennifer Rudd from JRCMS (Ed’s case manager) assessed all the options and suggested STEPS Rehabilitation was suitable for a 4 week stay. Ed and his family looked at the website and arranged for a video call with Katy Taylor, STEPS admissions and referrals lead.

“Katy was really nice and explained what STEPS was like, not just in terms of the rehabilitation care I would receive, but also the ethos and the atmosphere. She even showed me some of the rooms via our video conference call. Fortunately, funding for 4 weeks was approved and it was less than 7 days from my call with Katy to being admitted. My dad drove me up to Sheffield and was able to have lunch with me and see my room before he left. After just two weeks at STEPS I regained some movement in my neck which meant I could remove my neck brace for the first time since the accident.”


Ed was given a rehabilitation programme which included:

  • soft tissue work
  • aquatic therapy
  • physiotherapy
  • stretching and exercise programme
  • strengthening and core work
  • cardio and fitness,
  • occupational Therapy
  • neurologic Music Therapy
  • psychology
  • wellbeing

One of the STEPS team of people helping Ed included Kate Loader, an Occupational Therapist. Together they worked on managing Ed’s fatigue and practising skills he would need when he moved back to his flat in London. Rebekah STEPS Neurologic Music therapist has been teaching Ed how to play the piano.

“This has really helped my left hand, concentration and mental health and I am now practicing every day. The wellbeing sessions with Jess Sheppey I was apprehensive about, but as always I thought I would give it a go! They were really helpful. I benefited from the social environment with the other clients. We have had a chess tournament and play cards. I have got as much out of the social side at STEPS as I have from the therapies. It is very grounding and motivating to be around other people with much more serious injuries than me. I would describe the feeling as a bit like going away to University and it has been one of the main positives to come out of 2020. Have made really positive gains, a better understanding of my injuries but there is a long way to go. I will keep in touch with the other clients when I leave.”

Ed moved into STEPS apartment for the final 2 weeks of his stay. This allowed him to further practice the skills needed to live independently again while continuing with his therapy sessions.


Ed is now back in London and has recently put down a deposit on a new flat with his girlfriend. Life is returning to some sort of normality and he hopes, at some point, to pick up where he left off with his career. Physically his goals are to get back to his pre-accident fitness levels of cycling, running and going to the gym.

“I would like to get back to as close to me before the accident as is possible and put the accident behind me.”