DAVID Bromley has had his first driving lesson, just a year after doctors told his parents he had only 24 hours to live.
On March 7 2011, aged 19, David’s life was turned upside down when he was hit by a car as he walked along the pavement with his girlfriend in Marsh End Road, Newport Pagnell.
Suffering nearly fatal head injuries, his parents were told their son was unlikely to ever wake up.
Defying the odds, David, from Westcroft, not only regained consciousness but he continues to surpass doctors’ expectations and last month celebrated his 21st birthday.
And on Monday, he took his first driving lesson since the accident which nearly cost him his life.
Incredibly David hardly shows any scars of the accident and aside from the three skull fractures suffered no other broken bones.
Fortunately, he says, he does not remember anything of the day which changed his life so dramatically.
“I suppose it’s a good thing,” said David. “I only know what I’ve been told about that day. I don’t remember any pain. In that respect, I’m thankful because I don’t think about it and I don’t have nightmares about it.
“My only memories of being in hospital are meeting the MK Dons players Sam Baldock and Dean Lewington for my 20th birthday.
“Around this time last year, I couldn’t walk. I had to learn to walk and talk again. I used to sing along to songs, but I’d get annoyed with myself that I couldn’t keep up. It doesn’t stop me trying though.
“It was frustrating because I remembered that I could do all of these things before, and now I couldn’t.”
David was in a coma for nearly two months as his brain recovered from his horrendous injury. He spent time at John Radcliffe in Oxford before returning to Milton Keynes. He was eventually allowed to go home in August, five months after the accident.
But while the physical damage has healed, he is still coming to terms with the injuries he can’t see.
He said: “It has taken a while for me to come to terms with where I am physically and mentally. When my family talk about the accident, it feels like they’re talking about someone else. I never saw any pictures of myself in that state.
“It hits me when I try and play football. I can’t do the things I used to. I’ll look at the ball and think, ‘I used to be able to score from here’ but now I can’t. I still try though – I’m not frightened of missing!”
For mum Helen, a teaching assistant at Long Meadow School, and 15-year-old brother Aiden, life has been tough over the last 12 months, with so much disruption affecting their day-to-day routine
But after seeing her son in the aftermath of the accident, Helen admitted she wasn’t sure if he’d ever see his 21st birthday.
“I always hoped but the way the doctors were talking, we thought he’d either be dead or living off a machine for the rest of his life,” she said. “All I wanted was to get him back.
“The police came to my door and said there had been an accident. I just thought he’d broken his leg or something. They took me to the hospital, but didn’t let me see him straight away and that’s when I knew it was bad. But then when I did see him in that state, I didn’t want to.
“I couldn’t even tell him off! It’s not like he wasn’t wearing a helmet or being unsafe – he was just meeting his girlfriend.
“A week after the accident, they ran tests and told us they didn’t think he’d last another 24 hours. We got everyone to the hospital to say goodbye. But he pulled through.
“The nurses at John Radcliffe were incredible and did so much for him, and the messages of support we got from all over the world as the story spread were just amazing.”
Aiden added: “It was really scary. We were always at the hospital so it took up a lot of our time. Since he’s come home, there have been difficulties because he thinks he can do so much, but the accident has stopped him from doing it, and he gets frustrated.
“But he’s getting better all the time - and he’s nicer now too!”
While others might wish to take stock of their situation, thankful that they’re still alive to tell the tale, David is keen to get back to normal, setting his sights on far greater achievements than anyone could have expected of him 12 months ago.
He said: “It has changed my outlook. I want to live life to the full. Life is too short as I nearly found out. But my aim for the next couple of years is to get back to college. After that, I want to go travelling around the world. I don’t want to get older and regret having not done something.”