Jessica Stevens was left fighting for her life in 2015. A serious road accident saw her suffer a severe traumatic brain injury, a fractured pelvis, an injury to her right shoulder, a collapsed lung and internal bleeding.
Just 25 at the time, Jessica spent weeks in a coma and still remembers nothing about the accident or the period immediately before or after it.
Subsequently, she was told that she was struck by a speeding driver as she was turning right onto a main road, from the street in which she lived with her parents and brother in Hendon, North West London.
Once out of the coma, and a month and half after the incident, in June 2015 Jessica spent a further three months in hospital, learning to walk and talk again.
Rehabilitation is the key
As soon as she left hospital, Jessica worked with serious injury expert Kim Smerdon, from law firm Boyes Turner, to get access to rehabilitation. That was the key in helping her return to work within 14 months of the accident that had changed her life.
Although she was able to return home, Jessica had to undergo continual rehabilitation involving a number of therapists providing physiotherapy, occupational therapy, personal training and a phased return to work.
It’s been a difficult journey, sometimes very emotional, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in my recovery and in being able to tell this story too.
Through sheer determination, Jessica has made an impressive recovery, though she still suffers from ongoing problems including a continued weakness in her right-hand side, limited dexterity in her right hand, inability to straighten her right arm, problems with balance, scarring, memory problems and an increased risk of epilepsy and further stroke.
Telling her story
Now, Jessica has captured her battle to achieve the best possible quality of life she can in an honest and revealing book called Everything is Broken.
The book, published by Filament, was launched at a special event earlier this year, hosted by Boyes Turner, who worked with Jessica to ensure she could access the support she needed and will continue to need.
Now 29, Jessica has spoken with others who have gone through similar life-changing injuries, to pass on her experiences. Jessica says she hopes her book will help them meet the challenges they too will face.
‘It turns your life upside down’
Jessica said: “The rehabilitation I was able to get as soon as possible meant I could work with an occupational therapist, a neuro physio and a personal trainer to work my way back to being as strong as possible and get some confidence again.
“It really does turn your life upside down in a moment. It’s been a difficult journey, sometimes very emotional, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in my recovery and in being able to tell this story too.
“I’ve still got a way to go but I hope people see what I’ve achieved, and that it helps them too.”
Kim Smerdon said: “Jessica is an absolute inspiration to anyone who faces the challenge of recovering from a serious brain injury.
“Her story shows the importance of injured people receiving rehabilitation and physiotherapy as quickly as possible. To see her now launching her own book is just fantastic.
“She deserves every success and I’ve no doubt that this is just the beginning of another inspirational journey for her.”