On March 1, 2020, Joseph Flavill was hit by a car and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was then in a coma for 10 months. Now, the 19-year-old British man is emerging from his coma, and he has no knowledge of the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the globe over the past year while he has been unconscious.
“He won’t know anything about the pandemic as he’s been asleep for 10 months,” Flavill’s aunt, Sally Flavill Smith, told The Guardian. “His awareness is starting to improve now, but we just don’t know what he knows.”
“I just don’t know where to start with it,” she continued. “A year ago if someone had told me what was going to happen over the last year, I don’t think I would have believed it. I’ve got no idea how Joseph’s going to come to understand what we’ve all been through.”
Flavill’s family members have attempted to explain over video calls that they are unable to visit him in person due coronavirus restrictions, but they’re unsure how much Flavill is grasping. They hope to better explain the extent and gravity of the pandemic in more detail once they are able to see him face-to-face.
He was first treated at Leicester General Hospital in England. His mother, Sharon Flavill, has been the only person allowed to visit her son in person during his treatment, and she had to do so at a distance while wearing full PPE. Joseph Flavill caught COVID-19 twice throughout his ordeal, but he recovered both times.
He has now been transferred to Adderley Green, a rehabilitation center, to continue his recovery. He can now begin to communicate by blinking and smiling, which are encouraging signs for his loved ones.
“We’ve still got a long journey ahead, but the steps he’s made in the last three weeks have been absolutely incredible,” said Flavill Smith.
His family has raised nearly £33,000 ($45,000) so far to pay for his continued treatment and recovery through the campaign they created, Joseph’s Journey. Prior to the devastating accident, Flavill was an active young man, and his family is hopeful that Flavill will once again be able to lead a full life.
“The thing about Joe is that he was always such an energy force,” Kate Yarbo, his aunt, told CNN. “Who knows how far he’s going to go now?”