Brain injury survivor speaks out, 40 years after accident
PETER English has lived a rather normal life - he's married, had children, worked various jobs ... save for one thing.
It was back in 1972 when Mr English was just 17. He fell out of a train in Sydney where his head slammed into a concrete pole.
He nearly died at the scene, sustaining critical injuries.
A month-and-a-half later, he awoke in hospital, having been in a coma.
After reading a story in the Daily on a 21-year-old Caloundra man facing a similar critical injury, Mr English wants that family to hold hope.
"The first day I was awake for a minute, the next a little more. Then hours here and there," Mr English said.
"I was there a few months in the end.
"The most important thing was unwavering support from family and friends.
"It was pretty hard, obviously, but I kept getting better and better."
Now 64, the Woombye man is proud to have lived a full life.
"My memory is a little bit shot. I don't exercise my brain enough," he said.
"And it definitely encumbered me. Some days my brain feels a little bit scrambled.
"But I was still able to work. I was able to drive. I even got a job at Nambour Council for a year.
"I was really proud of that.
"I got a job at a food truck, then as a mechanic - quite a few jobs. I was married, had kids.
"Some days it was hard, yeah. As you get older, it's hard to concentrate."
Ultimately his message to parents and loved ones who are faced with similar turmoil is to never lose hope.
He penned a letter to the Daily.
"Every now and then, I see disturbing stories that someone has had a critical accident. I had a massive brain injury, but I have recovered reasonably well," he wrote.
"I spent one-and-a-half months in a coma and it took me many years to recover to what I would class being reasonably normal.
"If he complains about problems that he has when he comes out, please remind him that in a world of nine billion people, there are only a couple of normal ones.
"Of course, he will always want a better life than he has at the moment, but that's what makes him normal.
"He might need you to have more patience with him than you've ever given anyone else.
"Please, never lose hope."