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Student bike victim’s back on his course

After brain surgery, Imperial College man fights on for degree

04 June, 2021 — By Tom Foot

Billy Draper-Barr after surgery at St Mary’s

A STUDENT left fighting for life after a cycling crash is determined to overcome a traumatic brain injury and complete his education.

Billy Draper-Barr was thrown onto a car windscreen before tumbling into the road after the collision. The 21-year-old, a second year student at Imperial, dialled 999 before losing consciousness.

He has been helped back to recovery with regular appointments at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington and with the help of brain injury charity Headway.

Mr Draper-Barr said: “Before the collision I was on top of my studies. But the last few months have been a lot harder, it takes a lot more planning to ensure that I don’t fall behind.

“I struggle to concentrate as much because I tire easily and sometimes struggle to find the words I want to say.”

Mr Draper-Barr had an emergency craniotomy to relieve a bleed on the brain following the crash in New North Road, Kensington, last August.

Mr Draper-Barr before the crash

He has since managed to finish his second year mechanical engineering exams. And his determination to continue his studies saw him nominated for Imperial College’s Under­­- graduate of the Year Award.

He said: “All I can remember about the collision was suddenly seeing a car pulling out and then me coming off the bike and ending up on the ground.

“I’m not sure how, but I managed to get to the roadside and dial 999, thinking it was important I stayed awake.

“The next thing I was in hospital, hooked up to various machines.

“I now want to remain focused on my studies and making the best possible recovery that I can.

“I just hope that by speaking out people in a similar position realise that there’s help and support available and that it makes such a difference.”

Mr Draper-Barr was speaking as part of Action for Brain Injury Week, and to promote the charity Headway.

His lawyer Sarah Griggs, from Irwin Mitchell solicitors, said: “We’ll continue to support Billy through the challenges he continues to face but hope his story helps inspire other people in a similar situation.”

For more information visit the charity’s site at: www.headway.org.uk

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