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.