LOOKING back on the past 12 months Warrnambool accident victim Jarrod King’s most striking memory is just how lucky he was to not suffer permanent injuries.
Mr King, 19, was involved in an car rollover with four other young people along a gravel stretch of Aberline Road in the early hours of Saturday, March 6, last year.
He said he remembers nothing of the accident and only recalls having a few drinks and playing pool with friends about 9pm the night before the rollover.
His next memory is waking up in hospital and wondering what injuries he was suffering.
Mr King suffered a blood clot on the brain.
He was flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital and underwent a two-hour operation before being placed in an induced coma.
“I remember waking up in hospital and wondering what injuries I had suffered and if I would ever recover,” he said.
“I had a blood clot on the brain and they had to get rid of that. They put me in a coma, opened up my head to let the swelling go down.
“They checked to make sure everything was OK and took out the blood clot.
“I was in the Royal Melbourne for about nine days and went straight to the Epworth rehabilitation centre.
‘‘All together I was in Melbourne for 25 days.”
Mr King said his rehabilitation involved getting back his balance, learning to walk in a straight line again and regaining his strength.
“I could walk, but I couldn’t walk in a straight line, I would fall over.
‘‘What I remember more than anything else was the other people in the Epworth.
‘‘There was one bloke who couldn’t do anything for himself. That was pretty hard to see,” he said.
“Each day I progressed.
‘‘You could see my balance was getting better and that was really positive.
‘‘I’ve still got a back injury but everything else is about right.
‘‘Sometimes I get a bit tired, but my balance and speech are all right.”
The accident victim said he was surprised how confident a Royal Melbourne doctor was about the youngster making a full recovery.
“He was 100 per cent positive I would make a full recovery and he was right.
‘‘I just did what I was told, that’s all you can do,” he told The Standard.
“There were a lot of other people in a lot worse condition than I was — I was just lucky.”
Mr King said the driver of the vehicle that crashed, Bill Browne, had since passed away.
“It was a sad time, I’m slowing coming to terms with it.
“Bill decided to take his own life, it was a shock but it was his decision,” he said.
“I kept in contact with him after the accident.
“We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“He was one of the safest drivers I’ve ever been with in a car with.
“It was just a freak accident.”
Mr King said he had played cricket this season with Wangoom, but would probably give footy another miss in the coming season.
“I’ve been playing cricket at Wangoom, but I made four ducks in a row so it wasn’t going too good at one stage.
“I’ve made a couple of decent scores. I’ll have one more year off footy and then see how I go.
“I’ve been involved in footy since I was a little kid,” he said.
“I’m a building apprentice with Malcolm Farmer.
“There’s a few people I need to thank for helping me out, especially Mum and Dad (Deb and Darren), my family and friends, St John of God rehab physio staff and the doctors at the Royal Melbourne and the Epworth.
“I look back on the accident and it’s something that happened but I don’t really have much in the way of long term injuries.
“I’ve come out of it, I was lucky and you look forward,” he said.
* Anyone in need of help and support or considering harming themself can phone Lifeline 24 hours a day on 131 114. Young people can call the Kids’ Help Line 1800 551 800.