Teen wakes from 11-month coma with no knowledge of Covid pandemic

Yahoo News Staff
·3-min read

A teenager struck by a car has woken up from an 11-month coma with no knowledge of the coronavirus pandemic despite catching it twice.

Joseph Flavill, 19, from Tutbury, Staffordshire, was studying for his final year in high school when he was hit by a car as he walked through Burton on March 1 last year, three weeks before England’s first national lockdown.

Mr Flavill, known as Joe, was left with a severe brain injury and ended up in a coma for almost 11 months, but he is now awake and responding to loved ones through blinking and smiling.

Joseph Flavill (pictured)  has just woken from an 11-month coma which spanned the coronavirus pandemic. Source: Reach
Joseph Flavill (pictured) has just woken from an 11-month coma which spanned the coronavirus pandemic. Source: Joseph's Journey

He spent six months at Leicester General Hospital before being moved to Adderley Green neurological rehabilitation centre in Stoke four months ago.

In that time, he caught Covid-19 twice – once while in a coma and again after waking up – but recovered on both occasions.

Only his mother, Sharon Priestly, could visit him in hospital because of coronavirus restrictions.

She was allowed to visit him at Adderley Green on his 19th birthday, but had to socially distance.

His family now keep in touch with him through FaceTime. In the past few weeks, Mr Flavill has started moving his limbs.

"At first his eyes were open but he wasn't responding to anything, but over the last few weeks he's taken amazing steps,” his aunt Sally Flavill-Smith said.

"He's really trying to engage and blinks and smiles. He's raising his limbs on instruction.

"He's making really good progress. We've got to try to remain positive. He's definitely making improvement."

Joseph Flavill holding up a school report
Joseph Flavill was studying for his final year in high school when he was hit by a car three weeks before England’s first national lockdown. Source: Joseph's Journey

She said his face lights up when he sees his friends and family on screen.

"It's the best we have seen him recently. It might seem like little progress but the fact he can give the nurse a high five is a really big step.

"It's unbelievably hard for his mum not being able to see him. We also don't know how much he understands as his accident was before the first lockdown and it's almost like he has slept through the whole pandemic.

"It's hard as we know he is more alert, but how do you explain the pandemic to someone who has been in a coma?

Before his accident, Mr Flavill enjoyed playing hockey and a number of other sports, and was waiting to receive his gold Duke of Edinburgh award.

He had planned on taking a year out after his A-levels to go travelling.

His family have set up a website, Joseph’s Journey, and raised more than £32,000 ($A56,000) to help with his treatment.

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