Joy as teenager's recovery begins from 11-month coma

Joseph Flavill, 18, who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on March 1, and has not woken up sin

Joseph Flavill, 19, who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on March 1 last year and has only now started to come out of his coma. - Credit: Archant

Family members of a teenager who has been in a coma for the past 11 months are overjoyed that he has finally started to regain consciousness. 

Joseph Flavill, 19, was hit by a car when walking along a road in his home town of Burton, Staffordshire on March 1 last year.
Joseph suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and went into a coma, and was in Leicester General Hospital until he was moved to a care centre in Adderley Green, near Stoke-on-Trent, in November.

Joseph Flavill, 18, left, with cousin Joseph Barron, 'papa' Brian Teather and cousin Harry Yarbo. Pi

Joseph Flavill, now 19, left, with cousin Joseph Barron, 'papa' Brian Teather and cousin Harry Yarbo. - Credit: Archant

Although he has had Covid-19 twice he has had no knowledge of the pandemic that has gripped the world over the past year. 

Joseph has relatives in Sheringham and Norwich, including aunt and uncle Kate and Bob Yarbo, from Sheringham, and their children Harry, Aiysha and Nelson.

Mrs Yarbo said: “The progress in the past week has just been incredible - we’re amazed. There were tears.
“I was zooming with him on Saturday, talking about Cornwall and the first thing he would say. I said it might be pasty because he loves those, and he blinked. I said ‘was that a yes?’ and he blinked once more for yes.

“Then I called my sons and my husband in to look. He did this four or five times and we realised we had a channel of communication open.”
Mrs Yarbo said Joseph was in a “minimally conscious state”, and although he could not yet speak, he was learning to communicate through eye blinks, and he could move his legs and follow simple instructions from his mum, such as touching his ear.

Joseph Flavill, 18, right, with members of his family. Picture: Supplied by the family

Joseph Flavill, 19, right, with members of his family. - Credit: Archant

Mrs Yarbo said that although Joseph’s family knew he had a long road to recovery in front of him, they were full of optimism about his progress and what he would yet be able to achieve.
She said Joseph’s family and friends had constantly been making videos to share with him, including many focusing on his passions, which include flying light aircraft, surfing and traveling.

Mrs Yarbo said they were still raising money to help with Joseph’s recovery through the website, and they were also looking for anyone with any specialist skills that might help him along his way.