‘I lost six months of mem­o­ries in ski hor­ror ac­ci­dent’

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

ARMY re­servist Paul Har­ri­son’s life changed for­ever when he was in­volved in a high-speed ski­ing ac­ci­dent.

He sus­tained a trau­matic head in­jury dur­ing the hor­ror col­li­sion which wiped six months from his mem­ory.

But af­ter re­ceiv­ing ex­pert treat­ment, the Di­nas Powys res­i­dent is now well enough to give some­thing back to the clin­i­cians who saved him.

“I’d been ski rac­ing with the Army for the last eight years,” he said.

“We were prac­tis­ing carv­ing to keep as much speed as pos­si­ble while mak­ing turns. We were com­ing down the slope at the end of the day, do­ing ap­prox­i­mately 50-55mph, when some­one cut in front of me.

“I hit the back of their skis and a don’t re­mem­ber any­thing af­ter that. I was just go­ing too fast to think.”

Paul was told a man per­formed CPR on him at the scene and saved his life.

“I was dead and he brought me back to life,” he added. “My next real mem­ory af­ter that is weeks later. I was out for 45-50 min­utes af­ter the crash, I’m told. I saw an Aus­trian doc­tor who told the ex­er­cise leader I was OK, so they sent me back to my ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“Fol­low­ing the crash, I lay in bed for a whole week. I don’t re­mem­ber any­thing of sub­stance from that time.

“I re­turned home and ev­ery­thing passed in a blur. Novem­ber, De­cem­ber, Jan­uary, Fe­bru­ary – I don’t re­ally re­mem­ber any of it now as my mem­ory had been af­fected. Un­til very re­cently I hon­estly felt like it was still Christ­mas!”

Af­ter the ac­ci­dent, Paul suf­fered headaches, bal­ance prob­lems and mood swings. He also strug­gled to re­mem­ber things and had trou­ble sleep­ing.

“Lit­tle did I know at that point in time I had a frontal lobe in­jury,” added Paul, who is part of 105 Bat­tal­ion Royal Elec­tri­cal and Me­chan­i­cal Engi­neers.

On Box­ing Day 2016 Paul blacked out, fell down the stairs and banged his head again.

“Af­ter that I re­ally de­te­ri­o­rated and my symp­toms got worse,” he added.

“I was too proud to ad­mit any­thing was wrong. I serve in the armed forces – I’m meant to be tough as nails.”

Paul saw a con­sul­tant and was re­ferred to Headley Court, a de­fence med­i­cal re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre based in Ep­som, Sur­rey, for a three-month course of treat­ment.

He added: “I had so much help from oth­ers. Clin­i­cians ob­vi­ously helped me with the med­i­cal and ther­a­peu­tic in­ter­ven­tions, but the mu­tual sup­port I re­ceived from the sol­diers who were fel­low pa­tients was in­cred­i­ble. It’s been a long jour­ney. I wouldn’t al­ter a thing and it has changed me fun­da­men­tally.”

Paul, who works as a pro­fes­sional lead for gen­eral po­di­atric prac­tice in Cardiff Royal In­fir­mary, is now run­ning four half marathons to raise money for Headley Court.

He has al­ready run the Bac­chus Half Marathon, the Reigate Half Marathon and the Winch­ester Half Marathon. To fin­ish the chal­lenge, he’s set to run the Cardiff Half Marathon on Sun­day.

He will be dressed in his Army uni­form car­ry­ing a pack weigh­ing 16kg.

He said: “By rais­ing money for Headley Court, I feel that in a small way I’m giv­ing some­thing back to those who helped me on my jour­ney to re­cov­ery.”

To do­nate, visit www.just­giv­ing. com/fundrais­ing/paul-har­ri­son-485

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