Student makes a miraculous recovery after six months in a coma.

Edward Buckley was 20 when he was hit by a speeding taxi and went into a coma three years ago. When he woke up six months later he was unable to walk, talk or communicate.

He has since made what doctors describe as a ‘miraculous recovery’ and he is now studying for a degree in Aerospace Technology at the University of Hertfordshire.

Edward was a student at Leeds University when he was walking home from a friend’s house and was hit by a speeding taxi. His injuries were so severe that his family were told a number of times that he was very unlikely to survive. They were later told that he would live but would be in an unresponsive state. Despite this news his mother, father and three sisters refused to give up on him and worked hard with therapists every day until he eventually 'emerged' from his coma six months later. When he woke up he couldn’t talk but was able to make small noises. Since then Edward has tirelessly worked at his rehabilitation and has continually made small improvements until he eventually learnt to talk and walk again.

Edward still has brain damage which affects his ability to write with his right hand, he also lost the sight in his right eye due to the accident but he has made astonishing improvements. This academic year he went back to studying and became a student at the University of Hertfordshire. He is studying Aerospace Technology with Management BSc (Hons). The University offers advice and support through its disability support service but Edward is living very independently in university halls and is managing his studies well. He has a scribe who attends his lectures with him and he feels supported by the help provided.

Sharon Rosales, Disability Adviser at the University has been working with Edward since he enrolled as a student:

“Ed is a remarkable student. He has shown a deep commitment to returning to his studies and the Student Wellbeing Disability Team has been able to support Ed in achieving this. His determination and sense of humour are resolute.  Ed is an inspiration in showing us all what it means to overcoming challenges in order to achieve a dream.”

Edward’s mother Caroline Buckley said:

“It's a truly incredible achievement for Edward to have gone from not being able to talk or walk to studying for a degree in less than three years. None of the doctors or therapists we have worked with have ever seen a recovery like this before. His family, friends and support network are all so proud of him and so thankful for his survival and recovery. We are all very, very lucky.”

Caroline, who gave up her career in nursing to care for Edward following his accident, offers help and advice at a monthly family support group at Northwick Park Hospital where Edward spent nearly a year in rehabilitation following his time in intensive care and acute care in Leeds.

Edward, who has a very sharp sense of humour and an unflinchingly positive outlook said:

“My mum has been really good, she didn’t leave my bedside for months. My dad and sisters too-and all my friends. I like being at Hertfordshire because I grew up in Welwyn Garden City and lots of my school friends are nearby. I also enjoy making new friends and meeting people. I feel safe on the campus and I am getting more confident in my lectures. At first I was shy and lacked the confidence to ask questions but now I know that the lecturers are pleased when I ask and that it inspires other students to ask questions if they don’t understand too. The disability services at the University have also been brilliant, my start back at uni has been so much easier because of their support.”

Edward, who used music therapy as part of his rehabilitation, became an ambassador for the charity Nordoff Robbin’s and through his work for them has met Coldplay’s Chris Martin and others on a few occasions and has twice spoken to over 1,000 people at charity galas in London where thousands of pounds have been raised. He also visits local schools to talk to the children and has given them the strong message that they can achieve whatever they want as long as they are determined. He tells them, and others, never, ever give up.

ENDS

For more information, please contact Louise Akers, University of Hertfordshire Press Office on 01707 281269, Email: l.akers3@herts.ac.uk

About the University of Hertfordshire:

The University is the UK’s leading business-facing university and an exemplar in the sector.  It is innovative and enterprising and challenges individuals and organisations to excel. 

The University of Hertfordshire is one of the region’s largest employers with 2,700 staff and a turnover of over £238 million .

With a student community of 25,300 including 2,800 overseas students from 100 different countries , the University has a global network of over 195,000 alumni. It is also one of the top 100 universities in the world under 50 years old, according to the new Times Higher Education 100 under 50 rankings 2014.

For more information, please visit  www.herts.ac.uk

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• The University of Hertfordshire is the UK’s leading business-facing University and an exemplar in the sector. It is innovative and enterprising and challenges individuals and organisations to excel. • The University of Hertfordshire is one of the region’s largest employers with over 2,425 staff and a turnover of more than £234 million. With a student community of over 25,100 including more than 2,900 international students from over 120 different countries, the University has a global network of over 175,000 alumni. For more information, please visit www.herts.ac.uk • The University of Hertfordshire was awarded the Times Higher Education ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2010’.

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