19 June 2021

A Father’s Day like no other

Ultra marathon to thank hospital team after son’s brain injury

Adam Northover, from Swanmore, is running 53 miles in support of the nursing and medical team who cared for his son after he sustained a traumatic head injury last summer:

“It was a lovely sunny day, and our 15 year old son, Benji, was out for a bike ride with friends. Being a teenager, he thought he was invincible and didn’t wear his helmet.

Cycling downhill, he came off his bike at speed and hit the back of his head on the concrete road. He called us, sounding scared and confused. It was only a few miles from where we lived, so his mum, Emma, and I, rushed to where he was.

When we arrived, a passer-by had already called for an ambulance which arrived just after we did and took him to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth.

He was discharged later that day, but at home, his symptoms worsened significantly. We took him back to the Emergency Department, and the scans of his head showed he had fractured his skull and had severe bruising on the brain.

He was admitted directly to the Paediatric Ward but over the course of 24 hours had deteriorated so much that we were told that he might have to be transferred to ICU and put to sleep (ventilated).

At this point it was clear that he needed specialist care and he was transferred to the paediatric neurological department in Southampton Children’s Hospital.

Due to Covid-19, I was unable to visit him in either hospital due to the restrictions, but every kindness was extended to Emma who was by his side every moment as he began his recovery.

After a week in Southampton, he was discharged, and I have no doubt that it was due to the expert care he received. Indeed, we were told afterwards that none of the team expected him to recover as well or as quickly as he did. It could have been a lot worse, and thankfully he has now made nearly a full recovery.

As parents, we are aware that many are less fortunate. Indeed, Benji and Emma shared a ward with some families who were experiencing far more challenging times ahead.”

Emma, comments: “It was simply one of the worst and most frightening times of our lives.

Without a doubt, the care that he received was beyond amazing. As a health care professional myself, I simply couldn’t fault anything. The G4 team were some of the bravest, skilled, calm and compassionate care providers that I have ever witnessed, even after working in the NHS for 30 years.

Both Adam and I will never be able to show our true appreciation to every single person that cared for Benji, both during his hospital stay and outpatient follow-up, but Adam’s ultra-marathon challenge is our way of saying thank you.”

The South Downs Way ultra-marathon (19-20 June) will be the first time he has attempted this kind of running challenge, so has chosen to race for Southampton Hospitals Charity.

The Race to the King event departs from Goodwood racecourse to Queen Elizabeth country park, includes an overnight stay in tents, before the second marathon to Kind Alfred’s statue in Winchester the next day. A total of 53 miles!

What a way to celebrate Father’s Day 2021!

Support the children’s neurology team today: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adam-northover2

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