Stroke: Connor, part 1

Connor was 14 when a rugby tackle led to a blood clot on his brain stem and left him with a brain injury. His aunt, Sara, tells us his story.

Published: October 2015. Date of brain injury: March 2015 (child aged 14 years).

In March 2015, Connor was injured whilst playing rugby. Initially we thought he had hurt his ribs but when he went down in a tackle he tore an artery in his neck which caused a blood clot on his brain stem leading to two major strokes.Connor: young man in hospital

He underwent surgery in Hull to save his life before being transferred to Leeds where he underwent another operation to remove the remainder of the clot. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful and he remained in a coma for a few days.

We were told that Connor did not have much chance of survival and to prepare ourselves for the worst. Our world fell apart.

The news was devastating and unbelievable. It was like we were on the outside looking in and were unable to stop what was happening.

When he woke up we were told that Connor would be left disabled because of the damage to his brain. However he defied doctors and started to make an amazing recovery, much to the surprise of specialists. 

Effects of the brain injury

Since Connor has returned home, he still has a weakness in his right side and suffers from extreme fatigue. As well as suffering from speech problems, doctors think he may also be having seizures and he has been unable to return to school. However, he has been having home tuition for around an hour a day.

We have recently been told he will have to live with the clot as scans show no improvement.

He has also been left with a narrowing of his brain stem which leaves him with a high risk of further strokes. Despite monitoring his progress and blood work weekly, he has since been in and out of hospital with debilitating headaches and stroke symptoms.

Rugby and the future 

Connor: young man is presented with award
Hull Kingston Rovers chairman Neil Hudgell hands Connor a bravery award at their annual player of the year awards.

We try to keep Connor active. Despite not being able to do any form of exercise, he still goes to watch his rugby team and has a brilliant support network from them.

The support we received from the local rugby world has been phenomenal. Hull Kingston Rover gave Connor the unique honour of his own squad number and have been amazing in helping with his recovery.

Medically, the after-support has not been great and we have had to search for support ourselves, which has left us feeling unsatisfied.

At the moment it's hard to say what the future holds due to issues caused from the accident, however, we are remaining positive.

Connor may still need further operations and will be on medication for the rest of his life. He still has further scans to undergo before specialists can decide on the best treatment for him.

Connor has set up his own fundraising page on Facebook called Team Connor in order to raise awareness of brain injury in sport and is also raising money for the charities that assisted him.

Finally, if I could give one piece of advice or encouragement to other families in a similar situation it would be to stay positive.  

Since this piece was published Connor has featured in national newspapers; been nominated for local awards and won national awards. His foundation, Connor Lynes Foundation raises awareness of brain injury and childhood stroke and helps charities.

Read part 2 of Connor's real story

Stroke: Connor, part 2

Connor Lynes had a stroke following a rugby tackle. Since then he has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of childhood stroke and brain injury.