The family of a teenager seriously injured in a cycling accident are preparing to finally welcome him home.
Seventeen-year-old Ryan Smith suffered severe brain injuries and was left in a coma following the collision with a van last July. His family was told to prepare for the worst.
Miraculously, after four months, Ryan woke up and began a long, slow battle to recovery. Ryan was not wearing a cycling helmet at the time of the accident and since then his family has been campaigning for cycle helmets to be compulsory. The family has been frantically getting everything ready for Ryan’s return to their home in Chapel St Leonard’s on September 1.
His dad Mark said: “It is a mixture of excitement and apprehension. We really hope Ryan coming home will spur on his recovery. We know it will also be life-changing as he will constantly need care and attention but we are looking forward to it.
“It has been quite manic getting everything ready. We have been adapting the house to facilitate his needs. The games room has been changed and medically adapted and a level access shower room has been created for him.”
Mr Smith, a paramedic, has been loaned an ambulance from the East Midlands Ambulance Service to pick Ryan up from the rehabilitation unit at the Children’s Trust in Tadworth, Surrey. He said: “My crew mate has offered to drive and it means I’ll be able to sit in the back with Ryan and hold his hand during the five-hour journey - it’s more comfortable for him than sitting up for such a long journey.
“Ryan cannot wait to come home. He has been away for a long 13 months. He is better in himself and is still showing signs of improvement. We have got his care plans in place and have managed to allocate a school for him. We are planning a big welcome home party.”
Ryan’s family are continuing to campaign for cycle helmet awareness and set up the Ryan Smith Foundation.