Rory speaks first words after three years with locked-in syndrome

3 May 2016

Rory and Gary

Photo: Wales News Service.

A young man who was severely disabled by a single punch has said his first words since the attack three years ago.

Rory, a 28-year-old from Pembrokeshire, Wales, was in a coma and now has 'locked-in syndrome' after his brain was deprived of oxygen.

But he has now spoken at least two words — including 'dad' — and can hold his head up during hydrotherapy.

Rory lives at Ty Cwm care home. His cousin Gary visits him each week.

'My cousin is an amazing bloke, very happy, very energetic. We grew up like brothers.

'In 2013 Rory was out for a friend’s birthday and there was a scuffle. As Rory was walking away he was punched in the back of the head, leaving him unable to speak, talk or move because there was a lack of oxygen getting to the brain.'

Gary visits Rory several times a week, and has got to know the staff and other residents at Ty Cwm.

Gary on his bikeAfter seeing the benefits to Rory, he is now taking part in Ironman Wales to fundraise for hydrotherapy sessions.

Family support

Rory’s mother died 10 years ago, but his father Tony still lives nearby and he recognises family.

Rory was engaged and planning to move to Australia with his fiance when he was attacked. As Gary told Wales Online:

'I moved to Australia and Rory followed me into plumbing and was going to join me, then this happened.

'I moved my life back here to help Rory as much as I can. So many people’s lives have changed as a result of this.

'He used to surf and loves water so we pay extra for him to get hydrotherapy every Monday.

'You can see he loves it. Rory could hold his head up in the water the last time I went.'

To support Gary's fundraising for Rory and Ty Cwm, donate to his JustGiving page.


Beautiful news, keep it up Rory! and what a wonderful cousin too. Very inspiring <3

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