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Crash survivor thanks the people who saved his life

PUBLISHED: 14:14 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 18:43 12 April 2018

Picture of Lee Hannant and his parents John and Sue Hannant who want to thank emergency services for saving his (Lee's) life after crash on A47 at North Burlingham. Photo: Angela Sharpe.

Picture of Lee Hannant and his parents John and Sue Hannant who want to thank emergency services for saving his (Lee's) life after crash on A47 at North Burlingham. Photo: Angela Sharpe.

Archant © 2008

Ten years ago today, Lee Hannant was fighting for his life after being seriously injured in a horror road crash.

Picture of Lee Hannant's Saxo car which he was in when involved in a crash on the A47.Picture of Lee Hannant's Saxo car which he was in when involved in a crash on the A47.

Then just 20, he was on life support and faced years of rehabilitation and surgery after breaking both shoulders, his thigh bone, his jaw and fracturing other bones in his face near to his eye.

Now 30, Mr Hannant has made a remarkable recovery and wants to once again thank the people who saved his life following the crash on the A47 at North Burlingham on April 12, 2008.

Mr Hannant grew up in The Paddocks in Old Catton and was working at John Lewis while studying for a foundation degree in business at City College Norwich at the time of the accident.

He said: “I want to say thank you again to everyone that helped me get to where I am today. The gentleman that kept me talking until the emergency services arrived.

Lee Hannant, who is originally from Norfolk but is now manager of Soccer In the Community for Chicago Fire Soccer Club. Picture: Lee Hannant.Lee Hannant, who is originally from Norfolk but is now manager of Soccer In the Community for Chicago Fire Soccer Club. Picture: Lee Hannant.

“To everyone that helped at the scene to get me out of the car and to the hospital.

“To the A&E staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital that stabilized me and gave me an opportunity to fight, and to the specialist doctors and nurses that put me on the road to recovery.

“I do also want to give a special thank you to some additional people, because without their continued love and support I wouldn’t have made it through. To my mum and dad, my sister, my best friend James, everyone that visited me in hospital and at home, and to my John Lewis family.”

Mr Hannant is now married and lives in Chicago in America, working as the manager of the Soccer In The Community programme for Major League team Chicago Fire Soccer Club.

He said: “When I look back at everything, I realise the accident itself wasn’t the hardest part for me, it was the effort and time that went into my recovery. The day it happened was worse for my family and friends waiting to see if I would pull through, but at the time I wasn’t able to comprehend the enormity of what had just happened, and I don’t think I did for years afterwards.”

He added: “To this day, I consider myself very lucky to have got out of the car alive and to survive given the injuries I had. I think the whole thing taught me a lot about myself, both good and bad. I think I realised that there were more opportunities out there that maybe I hadn’t considered before, because everything I had known was in Norwich. Maybe, because of everything I had been through, I was less nervous about change, or pursuing different opportunities, or maybe I just needed a fresh start.”

Reflecting on his recovery, Mr Hannant said: “My physical injuries were hard for me to deal with, not being able to walk because I couldn’t use crutches because I’d broken both shoulders.

“Not being able to eat because my jaw was wired shut for eight weeks.

“I found it hard being in public because my face was swollen because of my facial injuries, not knowing if I would look the same again or if I would regain feeling on my right-side.

“But, the mental issues were worse, because overnight I had become a completely different person, because of the brain injuries I suffered.

“I struggled to hold down a conversation because my word-finding and memory had been affected. I couldn’t remember significant events that had happened in my life. I didn’t want to be out in large groups, so I wouldn’t see my friends.

“I have always been very social, so that was particularly difficult for me. As a result, I would get frustrated with myself, and take that out on the people around me, especially my family.

“So, it was heart-breaking at times, because I had to learn how to be me again.

“I was lucky to have loving family and friends around me to help me through it.

“It took me about two years to get back to what I would now consider normality.

“Even after seven years, I had to have another operation to remove the metalwork in my femur, as it was causing me pain when walking.

“The surgery was successful, though, and I feel so much better, I am even back playing football again which is huge for me.”

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