Joseph Flavill, 19, was hit by a car while walking in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, on 1 March last year, three weeks before Britain’s first national lockdown began.
A teenager who is emerging from a 10-month long coma has no knowledge of the coronavirus pandemic despite having caught the disease twice.
He has spent months in a coma after he suffered a traumatic brain injury but is slowly beginning to recover and has started responding.
His aunt, Sally Flavill Smith, told the Guardian: “He won’t know anything about the pandemic as he’s been asleep for 10 months. His awareness is starting to improve now but we just don’t know what he knows.
The family was forced to explain to their son over video chat that they couldn’t be there in person due to Covid restrictions, but unfortunately, it was difficult to explain the scale of the pandemic.
“I just don’t know where to start with it. A year ago if someone had told me what was going to happen over the last year, I don’t think I would have believed it. I’ve got no idea how Joseph’s going to come to understand what we’ve all been through.”
“When he’s awake in his room, he’s not going to have any idea why he’s there. We do talk about it on the phone, and we try to make him aware that we really want to be there holding his hands, but we’re just unable to do it [because of Covid].
“But we try to keep it as simple as possible, we don’t really have the time to go into the pandemic hugely – it just doesn’t feel real does it? When he can actually have the face-to-face contact, that will be the opportunity to actually try to explain to him what has happened.”
The teenager, who was treated at Leicester General hospital and has now been moved to Adderley Green care centre in Stoke-on-Trent to continue his recovery, has started moving his limbs when asked and is engaging with family and friends through blinking and smiling.
Flavill Smith said the teenager is able to follow commands such as touching his left and his right ear, move both of his legs, and answer yes and no through blinking, while his first smiles have brought the family to tears.
“We’ve still got a long journey ahead, but the steps he’s made in the last three weeks have been absolutely incredible,” said Flavill Smith.
The website Josephs Journey has raised over $32,000 towards his recovery.