This time last year, South Africans were still going about life without masks, social distancing, and curfews. It was a simpler time, one that seems so long ago now that we’ve become accustomed to so many rules and regulations.

For one British teenager, however, this new world order is completely new and foreign to him because he’s been in a coma for 10 months.

Nineteen-year-old Joseph Flavill sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on March 1, 2020 after being hit by a car while crossing the road. This left him in a coma for 10 months, just three weeks before the UK went into lockdown.

During this period, the world as we know it changed due to the pandemic. In fact, Flavill tested positive for COVID-19 twice while in hospital, all while he was in a coma.

He is now emerging from his coma and has been communicating with his family via FaceTime. Of course, he was not awake when the country went into lockdown, making him possibly one of the only people on earth who don’t know about the COVID-19 pandemic. Interestingly, his family have not explained to him in-depth how serious the pandemic is.

“We don’t really have the time to go into the pandemic hugely — it just doesn’t feel real does it? When he can actually have the face-to-face contact, that will be the opportunity to actually try to explain to him what has happened,” his aunt Sally Flavill Smith told The Guardian.

Before his accident, Flavill was a dedicated athlete with a passion for music. In fact, he was meant to receive his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award at Buckingham Palace in May 2020.

Now, he continues to receive rehabilitation to gain back his abilities. He has been following commands like touching his left and his right ear when asked to do so, he is able to move both of his legs, and he is answering yes and no through blinking.

Flavill’s family have created a website called Joseph’s Journey to raise awareness for TBI and the devastating impact this can have, as well as to help raise funds to help support his parents with the path ahead, and to create a space to share things like stories, memories, photos, and fundraising achievements.  Thus far, they have raised £32,909.91 (R589 344).

Picture: Instagram/Joseph’s Journey

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