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Life after a traumatic brain injury: Learning to eat, walk and talk again

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Life after a traumatic mind harm: Studying to eat, stroll and speak once more

Dale Henley can not bear in mind flying over his handlebars and touchdown on his head.

The times earlier than the mountain biking accident are blacked out. Henley woke in hospital after 4 nights in a coma and discovered to stroll, speak and eat once more. Eight weeks have been wiped from his reminiscence.

However after to date making a powerful restoration, he has discovered that the clinic which helped rehabilitate him is closing down.

Henley’s fiancee and greatest pal wrote particulars of his restoration in a journal for him. That is how the Christchurch mechanic and father pieced collectively what he has been by way of.

Henley broke 5 vertebrae and suffered a traumatic mind harm (TBI) on a Christchurch Port Hills monitor 10 months in the past. He has been informed folks normally want about 18 months earlier than returning to work, driving and speaking usually once more after such an harm, however he’s already doing this and extra.

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Dale Henley credits the Christchurch rehab unit, where he stayed two months after his accident, for his speedy recovery.


Dale Henley credit the Christchurch rehab unit, the place he stayed two months after his accident, for his speedy restoration.

Whereas he has given up bike racing for good, he has been on his pushbike and motorcycle once more.

Henley was 50 metres into the general public monitor when he fell on the primary leap. He was using along with his fiancee’s son Isaiah Piper, 16 on the time, who had simply accomplished a primary help course.

Piper referred to as 111, put an unconscious Henley within the restoration place, and stored him respiration.

A Christchurch Hospital anaesthetist occurred to be using on the Victoria Park monitor that day. She helped paramedics insert an IV line in Henley’s foot after a number of failed makes an attempt, then firefighters carried him out of the bush to a ready rescue helicopter.

Doctors told Henley the helmet he was wearing at the time of the accident saved his life.


Docs informed Henley the helmet he was carrying on the time of the accident saved his life.

When he arrived on the hospital, Henley scored 6 on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), a scoring system used to gauge the severity of an acute mind harm. Zero means useless, and 16 means no harm. A rating below 8 means a extreme TBI, which can lead to long-term bodily, cognitive and emotional injury.

Docs informed his fiancee he may not survive and may not bear in mind her.

Henley did bear in mind everybody round him, however couldn’t speak, stroll or eat.

“I used to be like a child. I needed to learn to do the whole lot once more.”

He spent one other week within the neuroscience ward earlier than transferring to a rehabilitation unit for 2 months.

The five-bed facility, run by The Laura Fergusson Belief, will close in November attributable to a funding change from ACC and a drop in demand. When Henley learn concerning the closure, he felt compelled to share his story.

Dale Henley broke his back and suffered a traumatic brain injury in a mountain biking accident last year. His fiancee’s son, Isaiah Piper, 17, right. was with him at the time. Henley has since been able to go biking again with his son, Ezra, 9, left.


Dale Henley broke his again and suffered a traumatic mind harm in a mountain biking accident final 12 months. His fiancee’s son, Isaiah Piper, 17, proper. was with him on the time. Henley has since been capable of go biking once more along with his son, Ezra, 9, left.

About 15 workers will doubtless lose their jobs and sufferers from Canterbury, the West Coast, Nelson and Marlborough must journey to Dunedin, Wellington or Auckland for rehabilitation.

Henley credit the unit and its workforce of physiotherapists, speech therapists, psychologists, nurses and medical doctors along with his restoration.

“They taught me how you can be human once more. Fingers down if it wasn’t for [the] Laura Fergusson [Trust], I wouldn’t be again at work at present.

“They’d a lot respect for me as an individual. They pushed me and made me really feel like I had one thing to stay for.”

Registered nurse Pauline Dawson outside the Laura Fergusson Trust, Canterbury’s only traumatic brain injury rehabilitation service which is due to close with the loss of about 15 staff.


Registered nurse Pauline Dawson outdoors the Laura Fergusson Belief, Canterbury’s solely traumatic mind harm rehabilitation service which is because of shut with the lack of about 15 workers.

His dad, a gardener, was so grateful to the belief he has supplied to work on its backyard free of charge.

When Henley was down, workers took him for a stroll across the park or sat down with him to speak. After he left the unit, his physiotherapist helped him get again on his bike at Bottle Lake park and his speech therapist went to his office, a motorcycle storage, to work out a plan to get him again to work.

Having his fiancee, family and friends by his facet throughout his rehabilitation made an enormous distinction, he stated. He couldn’t have had the identical stage of assist had he travelled to a different metropolis for remedy.

His fiancee sat with him for hours, reminding him of the small print of his life and reassuring him. He was capable of see his 9-year-old son frequently. Shedding the Christchurch rehabilitation unit could be a “large loss” and he frightened different sufferers wouldn’t have the identical likelihood at restoration, he stated.

Henley returned to work about two months in the past on lowered hours and has began biking once more, however will probably be staying on the bottom.

He nonetheless wants numerous relaxation and sleep, often forgets what he’s speaking about mid-sentence and can’t multi-task, however is placing all of his power into his household.

”Earlier than, I put my household first however it was all about racing. All my cash went into it. [The accident] has modified my perspective on life. I’m constructing a home now, doing what adults do.”

An ACC spokeswoman stated it was frequent for folks to journey for specialist providers, akin to to mind harm, spinal twine and burns models.

ACC was revising the way it funded the traumatic mind harm providers, which have been extremely specialised and value lots to run, she stated. It was not looking for one other supplier for the Canterbury contract.

Final 12 months ACC obtained greater than 7300​ claims for mountain bike-related accidents, almost 1500 of which have been from Canterbury – the worst area within the nation.

Dale Henley with the bike he was riding and helmet he was wearing when he had his accident 10 months ago.


Dale Henley with the bike he was using and helmet he was carrying when he had his accident 10 months in the past.


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