Road traffic accident: Alfie

At the age of 10, Alfie Russell had rehabilitation following a car accident. The following is from his speech at an event where the audience included HRH The Duke of Cambridge.


Published: November 2017. Date of brain injury: 1999. Child's age at time of injury: 10

Hello my name is Alfie Russell. When I was nine years old I was scouted by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and played for the under-nines team. I was the fastest runner in my school and competed in the District sports.

When I was 10 years old I was knocked down by a car and suffered serious head injuries.

My mum and dad were told that I may not survive and if I did I would be like a baby, not being able to walk, talk and eat.

I was in hospital for three months. I was then transferred to The Children’s Trust at Tadworth. When I arrived at The Children’s Trust I was bought in on a stretcher.

I was fed through a tube in my tummy, could not walk, talk or eat, could not even hold my head up. Just like a baby I was dependent on my parents once again for everything.

I needed intensive physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy, and the only place I could get this was The Children’s Trust. I had to relearn everything I take, and we take, for granted.

Before my accident I loved my bike but was told that I wouldn’t walk, let alone ride a bike.

I stayed at The Children’s Trust for 11 months and when I walked out, I mean rode out, yes, I rode out because The Children’s Trust not only taught me all the things to make me independent but they taught me how to ride a two-wheeler bike again.

Well I rode out an independent 11-year-old and I have gone from strength to strength. I won a gold medal at the Special Olympics in the 100 metre relay and in April 2008 I completed the London Marathon in 4 hours and 38 minutes. Yes, I ran 26.2 miles.

In 2010 I undertook a 10-day trek through the mountains of Vietnam. My last challenge was in September 2011 when I climbed Kilimanjaro. I walked for up to 10 hours a day.

I carried the Olympic Torch, it was one of my proudest ever moments. I was so pleased to represent all the children and families The Children’s Trust has ever helped.

Well give me a marathon and I will run it, give me a mountain and I will climb it, but the hardest thing for me was to go back to college full time, as I did a couple of years ago, to complete my Activity Leadership Sports Course.

I am now a Disability Sports Coach, my dream job, although I am continually trying to better myself by studying for my FA Level 2 Football badge.

On a personal level I will be moving into my own place in a couple of weeks’ time to live independently.

I am now 28 years old. If you had known me 18 years ago you would have said, as the doctors at the hospital said, that all this would not be possible.

Residential rehabilitation

The Children's Trust offers a range of residential brain injury rehabilitation services for children and young people with acquired brain injury (ABI).