JOE Robinson was left fighting for his life after a car crash on the A34 that killed one of his friends.
Given a mere three per cent chance of survival by medics, he was in a coma for a month.
Making a full recovery seemed nothing short of a miracle.
But now, five years on, he is preparing to graduate this month from Oxford Brookes University with a Masters in Real Estate.
Mr Robinson, now 23, said: “It’s like an ongoing battle. It’s like me versus the injuries so it does really take it out of me sometimes.
“It’s been something that has taken complete control and main importance in my life. I’m still walking on this path and I don’t know where the finish line is.”
In the crash, which killed 17-year-old friend Grace Hadman in April 2009, Mr Robinson broke his back in three places, neck in two places and had a skull fracture running halfway across his head.
Gabriella Edmondson, of Penn, Bucks, was sentenced to 28 months in jail and banned from driving for four years in October 2009 after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving while drunk.
Then aged just 18, Mr Robinson needed round-the-clock care from the John Radcliffe Hospital’s neuro intensive care unit. The former pupil at Oxford’s St Edward’s School also caught pneumonia, meningitis and MRSA as his body battled the injuries. Mr Robinson, from Thame, said: “The accident made me realise how dangerous cars are and how we take them for granted. I really cherish every day. Life can change literally in seconds. It really hammers home to me how invaluable my family is to me.”
After leaving hospital on May 30, 2009, Mr Robinson was in a wheelchair for a month. He needed support from occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, brain consultants and neck and back specialists.
Mr Robinson still suffers problems with his short-term memory, attention, concentration, facial recognition, problem solving and planning.
Yet in 2013, his hard work paid off and he graduated from Exeter University with a 2:1 in Geography. While studying, he twice received the Dean’s Commendation for Outstanding Performance in Exceptional Circumstances, becoming the first person to receive the award twice in 55 years.
Now, to mark five years since the crash, Joe’s sister Grace Robinson has vowed to raise money for the medical unit that saved her brother’s life. She has already raised £800 after completing March’s Salisbury Aquathlon, as well as the Blenheim Triathlon and the Thame 10km Road Race in June.
And on Monday she began a week-long climb of 5,895 metre-high Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, the highest mountain in Africa.
Miss Robinson, 22, said: “It’s been really difficult, but you just keep taking it in your stride and see how it goes. It’s hard but we are a close family, it’s been difficult but we get through it.
“Joe has kept going so it shows what perseverance can do. It’s still like a continuous journey, but I’m very proud of what he has achieved.”
Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS, SPORT and JAYDEN depending on what services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
- Our top stories
'Major hope' that Caterham factory in Leafield could re-open despite F1 team also going into administration
1:34pm Friday 24th October 2014
ADMINISTRATORS have been handed full management responsibility for the Caterham Formula One team in a bid to find a new buyer.
11:40am Friday 24th October 2014
HUNDREDS of people have gathered outside St Mary Magdalene's church in Woodstock to pay their respects to the 11th Duke of Marlborough.
1:01pm Friday 24th October 2014
AN ELDERLY woman was taken to hospital after two cars crashed on the A4074.
9:30am Friday 24th October 2014
James Roberts is in no mood to rest on his laurels as the young Oxford United striker looks to feature in a fourth successive game when they visit Carlisle United tomorrow.
7:00am Friday 24th October 2014
A £110m cancer research centre is planned for Headington to study pioneering treatment with hundreds of county patients.
6:30am Friday 24th October 2014
MULTIPLE roadworks that cause city traffic gridlock are “worth it”, a minister has said.