Student, 19, wakes from 11-month coma with no knowledge of COVID pandemic

A British student has woken from an 11-month coma after a car crash, with no knowledge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joseph Flavill, 19, of the UK, was rushed to hospital after suffering a severe brain injury when he was hit by a car while walking in Burton, Staffordshire, on March 1, The Sun reports.

A-Level student Joe, from Tutbury, went into a coma three weeks before the UK was plunged into its first national lockdown on March 23.

He caught COVID twice in hospital, but recovered and has now emerged from a stage-two coma. But it meant he has had no knowledge of the pandemic that has hit billions of people across the globe.

He is now responding to loved ones, who must communicate with him on FaceTime.

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Only Joe’s mum has been allowed to visit under virus restrictions, with his relatives now wondering how to explain the world’s COVID chaos to him.

His aunt Sally Flavill-Smith said he has taken “amazing steps” in recent weeks and is now blinking, smiling and raising his legs on instruction.

“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,” she told Staffordshire Live.

“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?

“A brain injury is very much the unknown, so we haven’t been given an idea of what to expect really.”

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Joe was in Leicester General Hospital, but moved to Adderley Green Care Home in Stoke for neurological, physical and cognitive rehabilitation four months ago.

His mum was allowed to spend time with him at the home on his 19th birthday, but had to stay socially distanced.

Joe, who studied at The de Ferrers Academy, caught COVID once while still in a coma and once after waking, but is now progressing well.

Sally said his face lights up when he sees friends and family on the FaceTime screen.

His family want him to restart on his physiotherapy, which had to stop due to COVID.

He had wanted to take a year out after his A-levels to go travelling, so now his family and pals are planning something special for him.

Fit and healthy Joe, who loved hockey, had been waiting to attend Buckingham Palace to receive his gold Duke of Edinburgh award before the accident.

Family and friends have rallied round, with more than $59,000 raised to help Joe and his mum Sharon Priestley through the teenager’s recovery.

Around 100 fundraisers have racked up 12,000km by cycling, walking, running and rowing for a virtual around-the-world trip.

You can donate via the GoFundMe page or through the website, Joseph’s Journey.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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