A teenager has woken from an 11-month coma with no knowledge of the Covid-19 pandemic – despite having caught the disease.
Joseph Flavill, known as Joe, was hit by a car while walking near his home in Tutbury, Staffordshire, on 1 March – three weeks before Britain’s first national lockdown began.
The 19-year-old A Level student has since spent almost 11 months in a coma, oblivious to the monumental impact Covid-19 has had on the planet.
Mercifully, he is beginning to show signs of recovery, communicating through blinks and smiles and moving his limbs on cue.
Unfortunately, his family are unable to visit him due to coronavirus restrictions, and it is difficult for them to gauge how well he understands the current situation.
His aunt Sally Flavill-Smith said: “It’s the best we have seen him recently. It might seem like little progress but the fact he can give the nurse a high five is a really big step.
“It’s unbelievably hard for his mum not being able to see him.
“We also don’t know how much he understands as his accident was before the first lockdown and it’s almost like he has slept through the whole pandemic.
“It’s hard as we know he is more alert, but how do you explain the pandemic to someone who has been in a coma?
“A brain injury is very much the unknown, so we haven’t been given an idea of what to expect really.”
Joe was rushed to Leicester General Hospital after the crash last year, spending six months there before he was moved to Adderley Green, a neurological rehabilitation centre in Stoke-on-Trent.
While in a coma he contracted Covid-19, and he tested positive once again after waking.
Thankfully, he was able to recover on both occasions and is now making ‘amazing steps’.
Sally said: “At first his eyes were open but he wasn’t responding to anything, but over the last few weeks he’s taken amazing steps.
“He’s really trying to engage and blinks and smiles. He’s raising his limbs on instruction.
“He’s making really good progress. We’ve got to try to remain positive. He’s definitely making improvements.”
Joe had originally planned to take a year out to travel after completing his A Levels, so now around 100 of his friends and family are trying to cycle, walk, run and row the equivalent of an around the world trip.