Londoners’ experiences of life-changing injuries


Age at interview: 25

Brief outline: Five years ago, Aiden was involved in a collision while riding his motorbike. As well as breaking some bones, he damaged nerves in his shoulder. As a result, his left arm is now almost completely paralysed.

Background: Aiden is single and currently unemployed. Ethnic background' European.

Audio & video

Aiden was riding his motorbike too fast round a bend. Instead of driving on the wrong side of the road, he decided to mount the kerb. He collided with what he described as street furniture because he is not sure what he hit. He broke bones in his neck, wrist and knee, and damaged the nerves in his shoulder. This resulted in the almost complete paralysis of his left arm. 
He had reconstructive surgery on his wrist and knee, and a nerve graft, which involved replacing the damaged nerves in his shoulder with nerves removed from his leg. However, the nerve graft was not successful. In another operation, muscles were removed from his leg and replaced the damaged muscles in his shoulder. Aiden said this operation was more successful. He is attending physiotherapy, which he thinks is useful, but he forgets to do his exercises regularly. This has probably slowed down his recovery. 
Since his injury, Aiden lost his job. He thinks there should be careers advice specifically for people who have had life-changing injuries. He is currently receiving Disability Living Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance, but is worried about how the changes to the benefits system in 2013 are going to affect him. Because he can no longer ride his motorbike or play the computer games he enjoyed, he has had to change his hobbies. But he can still do most of the things he needs to – they are just harder than before. 
Aiden would advise other survivors of life-changing injuries to concentrate on the things that they can do and which make life worth living, and, although it is sad, they should try to accept the things they can no longer do. 



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