Two years after the cycling accident that almost ended his life, Ryan Smith has made an emotional visit to the rehabilitation centre that aided his remarkable recovery.
Inspirational teenager Ryan returned home to Chapel St Leonards last September following nine months of intensive therapy at The Children’s Trust unit.
The 18-year-old made his first trip back this month to contribute to a Children’s Trust DVD on communicating with brain injured children.
It co-incided with the second anniversary of the accident which left him in a coma with severe brain injuries following a collision with a van while cycling to work.
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.
Ryan travelled to the rehabilitation centre in Surrey with dad Mark and 23-year-old sister Rachael.
Mark said: “It was massively emotional going back for Ryan. He really enjoyed the visit.
“The staff were very fond of Ryan, he really touched a cord with them.”
He added: “It was a coincidence that the visit coincided with the anniversary of the accident. Ryan also had to see a neurologist and speech and language therapist to check on his progress.”
The Children’s Trust facility is the largest residential brain injury rehabilitation unit in the country.
Ryan was admitted from hospital after spending 123 days in a coma.
Mark said: “When Ryan got there he could not hold his head up, could not eat and speak. After nine months of intensive therapy, he could eat and speak and was able to stand unaided. That spoke volumes for how important The Children’s Trust is.”
Following the accident Mark has set up the Ryan Smith Foundation to campaign for cycling safety and fundraised for The Children’s Trust.