Communities

Swansea helping Andy on road to recovery

12 Dec 2017

How Swans Community Trust and PL/BT Disability Fund supported Andy McDonald after serious brain injury

Andy McDonald's life was transformed one day when he was seriously injured after being hit by a car on his way home in south Wales.

"I was waiting to cross the road and a car came and knocked me over," he says.

Andy needed emergency surgery on a fractured skull and spent 16 days in hospital.

Being discharged from hospital was merely the first step on Andy's long road to recovery.

"I spent a lot of time recuperating. I lost a lot of weight because your brain uses a lot of calories, I lost over a stone in a week."

The Swansea City Community Trust played an important part in helping Andy get back to a regular life.

Sign up to Success

The Trust's Sign up to Success programme at Morriston Hospital, in Swansea, provides adults with brain injuries physical and educational activities as well as support to give them the ability and confidence to return to work.

"We're hoping to develop positive health behaviours and we also look at return-to-work skills," explains occupational therapist Helen Hughes, who works on the programme.

"A lot of the people can't go back to their previous jobs but everybody needs to have a purpose in life and this is designed to help them move on."

The scheme is run together with the Traumatic Brain Injury Service and is funded by the Premier League/BT Disability Fund.

By putting people with similar situations together they can share their problems and provide solutions for one another.

"People get a lot of frustrations and they don't know who to go to and speak to," Andy says. "In these groups, we can all be ourselves, have a laugh, shout, and we understand each other."

Not only has he returned to work as a nurse, Andy is also still involved with the Sign up to Success programme and helps others who are in the same position as he was.

"I want to inspire," he says. "When I speak with patients, they say: 'I'm going for a big operation, but you've been through a lot, and hopefully I'll come out the same as you.'"

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