“One punch. That’s all it took to change life as we knew it, in an instance”

21 September 2023

On Tuesday 16th February 2010 at 1:40am my family’s life was flipped upside down.

We lived in a quiet neighbourhood so any sounds of disturbance were easily heard, especially the sound of my brother being slumped against our front door and a quick knock on the door before two people run off.

I’m not sure what or who my father was expecting to see when he went down to open the door, but I am certain it wasn’t my 20-year-old brother falling through it. Expecting he was just drunk, my parents assisted him to his room, and put him into bed.

It wasn’t until another knock on the door less than an hour later when an officer stood there and said “I have reason to believe your son is seriously injured” did the reality of what we were about to experience as a family over the next few months set in.

Over the next few minutes, more Police arrived as did Paramedics to take my brother to the hospital.

I woke up amongst all the chaos of people going in and out the house to be told that he had been assaulted; but I don’t think we would have ever anticipated the seriousness of the injury.

At the hospital, my brother underwent tests and scans which came back showing a blood clot on his brain; he was in a critical condition.

One punch. That’s all it took to change life as we knew it, in an instance.

My brother was blue lighted down to hospital. He underwent an operation to remove the blood clot. After a successful operation he was placed into an induced coma for his own safety whilst his body began the unpredictable journey of recovery.

But I don’t think anything could have prepared me for what I was about to see in the hospital. He had a tracheotomy as well as a feeding tube fitted. The damage done to his brain meant that he was in a constant deep sleep. My eyes kept taking me to the scar on his head that took up the side of his head. Something he has been left with forever. A constant reminder of the trauma we went through because of one punch.

Sitting there looking at him so helpless was extremely emotional. Tears were shed.

I was happy to see him but that was quickly over-shadowed by the heartache we were going though as a family.

The days passed slowly and every day we made the 2 hour round trip to sit with my brother and tell him about our day. I longed for him to just open his eyes. How hard was it?

I would come home and get angry that this has happened; all because of one punch.

Nobody was sure what was going to happen once he woke up. The doctors looking after him told us that he was still critical and, if he got better, there was a concern that he would never live the life he had before. There was the possibility that he was going to wake up a complete recluse who would not want to engage with anyone.

The light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t shining as brightly anymore. Then my brother shocked us all. On the tenth day I walked into the hospital ward and heard “Alright, sausage”. I was ecstatic. I had my big brother back.

The journey was long but he exceeded the doctor’s expectations with his recovery and is now a healthy 33-year-old who dotes on his 4-year-old son.   We were the lucky ones. Not every victim leaves with just a couple of scars.

Whilst no official figures are available on one-punch deaths in the UK, the One Punch Can Kill campaign has recorded more than 80 one-punch deaths since 2007. On the whole, males are more susceptible to one punch assaults, however alarmingly, head injuries among females have continued to rise, with an increase of 28% in hospital admissions among females since 2005-06.

If you have been victim to a one punch assault, then your first move should be to seek legal advice from an expert you can trust to protect your interests and help you make a claim for compensation; that’s where we come in. We have a dedicated team of personal injury experts who specialise in nothing but such claims. Every day, we work with our clients to ensure that they are receiving the support and compensation they need to get their lives back on track following an injury.

By Emma Wilson, Trainee Legal Executive, Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Department

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.