Recovery of student knocked off his bike by car ‘remarkable’
MAN WHO SUFFERED BRAIN INJURY HAS SAT HIS UNIVERSITY EXAMS
A 22-YEAR-OLD student left fighting for his life after being knocked off his bike by a car in west London has made a “remarkable recovery” to sit his final university exams.
Billy Draper-Barr suffered a lifethreatening brain injury after he collided with a Mercedes C-Class, which pulled out of a side road in Hammersmith in August 2020, knocking him off his bike.
After being hit by the car pulling out of Mund Street, Billy was thrown onto the windscreen before falling to the ground.
He managed to pull himself to the side of the road and dial 999 before losing consciousness. The mechanical engineering student at Imperial College London was rushed to St Mary’s Hospital, where he received treatment for a bleed on his brain.
He said: “I remember seeing a car pull out in front of me and not having time to react and then I was on the ground. I still don’t know how I managed it but I crawled to the side of the road, called 999 and the next thing I remember was waking up in hospital after brain surgery.”
The second year student from Hammersmith was cycling to work at his summer internship with a medical tech firm in North End Road when the crash happened, at around 8.15am on August 7 2020. He was in hospital for nearly two weeks, but continued to suffer with fatigue and speech problems after he was discharged to his parents’ house in Worcestershire.
Billy said: “Before the crash I had everything mapped out in front of me. I was enjoying university and making great progress in my studies while meeting new friends.”
However, he said after the collision, “that suddenly all changed” and “since then it felt like life was a mix of medical appointments while also trying to come to terms with my injuries but also trying to catch up at university”.
Billy thought he might have to give up university because of his injury, but in a recovery experts have described as “remarkable,” the student has miraculously managed to catch up on his studies in order to sit his final exams.
He was able to access specialist care and therapies, including physiotherapy, neuropsychology, occupational therapy and as speech and language therapy, through Irwin Mitchell serious injury lawyers, which secured an interim payment to fund Billy’s ongoing rehabilitation.
Sarah Griggs, the expert serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Billy, said: “Billy suffered truly terrible injuries in the collision which left him facing a very uncertain future.
“However, because of the great medical care he received and through early access to rehabilitation, Billy has made a remarkable recovery in such a short space of time.”
Last year Billy was shortlisted among 10 finalists in an ‘Excellence Through Adversity’ Undergraduate Award, and in November he won a Sportsperson of the Year Award, after he was forced to give up rugby because of his injury, yet continued to work with the Imperial College Union Rugby Club to support members through the pandemic.
Billy has continued his recovery in order to sit his final exams and is now applying for jobs, including some in Europe.
He said: “Because of my injuries I thought I might have to give up university and my career and look at different options so it means so much to me to have been able to sit my finals and start looking for jobs.
“I can’t thank enough everyone who’s helped me for all of their support. I wouldn’t be in the place where I am now if it wasn’t for them.”