Sunday, April 8, 2012 was the day one punch changed my life forever.
I had been out drinking with friends in a Hull bar enjoying the Easter bank holiday weekend when I was the victim of an unprovoked attacked as I came out of the toilets.
A brawl had broken out in the bar, and despite me having no involvement at all, I was punched, causing me to fall back and hit my head on the solid floor.
I spent five days in and out of consciousness and repeatedly suffered seizures on a high dependency ward in hospital as I fought for survival.
Today, three-and-a-half years on, I have made an excellent recovery and life is thankfully positive again. However, I am not the same man. I never will be.
My life has changed beyond recognition.
As I struggled to cope with the impact of the injury, and with my emotions, my relationship broke down, I was unable to return to the work I loved, and I faced a long hard road to any form of recovery.
The past three years have without doubt been the hardest of my life, adapting to live with the new me, learning the basics again and finding the belief and motivation to get on with life again.
But I was lucky. I am still here to tell the tale. It could all have been so different.
Many people don’t survive like I did. One punch often results in death, the victim gone forever leaving loved ones behind, the aggressor facing court charges for manslaughter or perhaps even murder.
It is with that in mind that I thought it relevant to recap my story as we head into one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. If it happened to me, it could happen to you.
New Year it is a night to enjoy the pubs and clubs in the towns and cities, but as I know all too well, a night of fun can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Just one punch can ruin the lives of both the victim and aggressor. The man who attacked me was jailed for 16 months. Imagine the impact on his life and on those who loved and depended on him.
There have been many awareness campaigns around the fact that ‘One Punch Can Kill’, but we still see such incidents in the media every month.
Everybody can play their part by thinking about their actions before they get involved in a fight or throw just a single punch.
Play your part by keeping the peace and protecting those you love from becoming involved, as your life, and those of all those you love, could be changed in one moment of madness.
For more information about my journey and the Paul for Brain Charity please visit the website.