Padraig's Story

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Padraig's story is one of a number of personal experiences that people have shared with us as part of the "We Need Our Heads Examined" campaign for rehabilitation services.

Download the campaign leaflet here


Three years ago, our son Padraig had just finished his degree in Irish and History at Trinity College Dublin where he had been the Reachtaire of the Cumann Gaelach, had edited a book and magazines and he had been a broadcaster with several Irish language radio stations. He was an Irish champion swimmer and had spent a year swimming in a Division 1 college in the U.S.

The day after he celebrated his 23rd birthday he left for Cape Cod on a J1 visa to experience Boston and to consider the many different options open to him to plan the next few years of his life. Less than a month later, on 27th June 2013, on a bright Thursday morning, he cycled to work and was hit by a truck trying to overtake him. A few millimetres, a split second, changed his life forever.

He acquired a catastrophic brain injury.

Doctors wrote him off telling us his life would be intolerable. We were even told that providing him with ongoing neuro-rehabilitation would be a waste of valuable resources. But Padaig fought the fight of his life. He can eat, drink, move, communicate with a buzzer and he can enjoy his radically changed life.

Padraig needs life-long neuro-rehabilitation because recovery of function, as we have learned, never stops. And without it, he would regress and spasticity would soon set in.

It is his right to be able to live his life with dignity and with the support of his community. In the case of brain injury and especially in relation to non-verbal communication, we feel there is often an assumption that their needs are less important than those with other physical disabilities or illnesses.

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