Neil Wood had a good job as an IT field engineer, played Rugby for his local team in Bourne, and was a devoted father to Harry (5) and Poppy (2) and husband to Sarah. On 25th August 2016 his life changed in just a split second.
Neil was driving to a job in Leicester, heading along the A151 towards Grimsthorpe. Suddenly a HGV veered across the road and collided with his car which was forced into a ditch. The car was trapped by the HGV and Neil was suspended from his seat belt, unable to get out.
Bourne Fire Service arrived and cut Neil out of the car and the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance was dispatched. Our crew arrived and the decision was made to sedate Neil and place him into a medically induced coma. The crew was able to stabilise him before flying him to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham where the A&E and Trauma Team were waiting for him.
He suffered multiple traumatic injuries including a serious brain injury which caused nerve damage to the right side of his body, a fractured pelvis and a fractured knee cap. He was operated on a few days after the accident and remained in an induced coma in intensive care for a number of weeks. He was a patient at QMC for 8-9 weeks with the majority of that time being spent in intensive care and the last couple of weeks at the Major Trauma Unit before being transferred to the Neurological Rehabilitation Unit at Lincoln County Hospital.
Neil’s wife Sarah explained: “Neil‘s head injury caused nerve damage to the right side of his body. This has made a huge impact on life for someone who was fit and healthy, playing rugby and chasing his children around the garden in the height of summer. This ordeal has meant Neil has had to engage in an intensive rehabilitation programme. Over the months he has had to rebuild his strength and start with basic tasks such as holding his own head up.
“In January 2017 he was discharged and could finally come home. Words can’t really describe how it felt to have Neil home. The children were so excited to have Daddy home for cuddles whenever they wanted them. They didn’t see Neil for the first 2 months after the accident so to have him back was just fantastic.”
Nearly ten months after the accident Neil has is now mobile with crutches for short distances.
Sarah added: “It’s a very long road to recovery but with determination and patience there is no reason why Neil cannot progress well. It’s too early at this point to know whether Neil will make a full recovery, however we’re all remaining positive. There are good days and bad days, days full of frustration and days when giving up seems the only option. Having your independence taken away from you and losing your dignity at times has got to be one of the hardest things to deal with.
“Neil is a true fighter and he is determined to get to where he wants to be again and that’s playing rugby and most importantly being able to play and run around with our children. It’s a bit of a cliché, but you really never think you or anyone you know will need the support from the Air Ambulance. We were always aware of it but until you’ve been in a position where you’ve needed their support, you don’t really make much of what they do, well we didn’t to be honest. We are now spreading the word about the great work they do.”