My name is David FitzGerald and when I was 11 years old I ran
down in my bare feet and without a helmet on, to have a ride on one
of our horses. When I mounted the horse, a train went past and blew
its horn. This startled the other horses and the horse I was riding
started cantering down the railway line.
I lost my balance and fell off. Unfortunately my foot became
caught in the stirrup and I was dragged behind the horse for about
20m. My head banged against several sizeable rocks which no doubt
led to the brain injuries which were to follow. Finally the stirrup
came out of the saddle and I lay in the dirt covered in dust.
My Aunt Bernadette was the first to get to me. She was able to
give me mouth to mouth to get me breathing again.
When the ambulance arrived I was taken first to Gatton hospital
and then transferred to Royal Childrens Hospital in Brisbane.
Later that evening Peter Debuse (the head of the hospital) asked
to speak with my parents Terry and Colleen. He said that in his
experience patients did not recover from the sort of accident which
I had. If I lived through the night I would be a vegetable for the
rest of my life.
This did not sit well with my parents so after returning home for
a night they returned to my bedside to give what assistance they
My mother sat beside my bedside reading to me and willing me to
come out of my coma. I did slowly awake after about two months.
After 17 weeks 3 days I walked out of the hospital with the aid of
a 4 pronged walking stick.
Early the next year (1983) I made my first visit back to see Dr
Yelland - my neurophysician - he said that he thought that he would
never see me walk through the door. I thanked him for all the help
he had given me. To that he said "Don't thank me. Thank your
parents, it is their doing."
I went back to school and by grade 10 I was making good progress.
My right hand became a little shaky. I thought that I should forget
about it and perhaps it will go away. My local GP said that it was
probably just a stage of life I was going through. However my
mother insisted that I go and see a neuro physician.
I was diagnosed with Parkinson syndrome. The neurophysician told
my parents it was lucky they owned a farm as my employment options
in the future may be limited.
My father told me this the day I graduated from University of
Queensland as a property valuer. It made the day all that much
sweeter for me.
Since then I have worked for the Queensland Government as a
property valuer for 21 years. I have worked in Cairns, Bundaberg,
Roma and Beenleigh. The only break that I had was in 1998/99 when I
travelled overseas to Britain and Europe where I met my wife. We
were married after I enticed her back to Australia.
We now have 2 children Sinead (13) and Jamie (8). I enjoy watching
them grow up.
My story is one of hope and determination. It does not matter what
happens to you in life. It is how you deal with it that counts.
I have written a book about my journey and I also have been
involved in public speaking for many years.
To read my full story you can go to my website www.bsirecovery.com. If you wish to contact me
you can do so via the website.