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A Significant Medical History

Listen to Brian's story from the Diamond Event (MP3)

A brave teenager from Renfrew owes his dream of representing Scotland in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games to the skills of medical staff at the Southern General Hospital.

And his proudest moment so far came when he carried the Olympic Torch through London as part of the build up to the Beijing Games in China this summer, despite the protests by Free Tibet supporters which marred part of the route.

But 14 years ago survival was the goal for Brian Thomson who was left fighting for his life after falling 40ft from a building in his home town.

Now a proud holder of two gold medals for judo at the 2005 Special Olympics held in Glasgow, Brian (17) proved himself to be a battler from an early age.

He had to be revived twice by staff at the Southern General when his heart stopped, and spent five weeks in a coma.

Left paralysed and brain damaged, the teenager not only learned to walk again, but discovered a talent for judo when he began attending an after-school club.

Brian said: “I went along to this after-school club and I just seemed to pick up the sport quite easily.

“Now representing Scotland in the 2014 games is my dream.”

Shona Forsyth, an Outreach Nurse for Neuropaediatrics at the Southern General, played a key role in Brian’s recovery, helping him progress out of intensive care and into a ward at the hospital

Working with other professionals such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists, Shona supported Brian and his family when he was discharged and started school.

The plucky youngster was bullied, but stood up to his tormentors and was made head boy.

Shona provides an outreach service and remains in contact with the Thomsons and has been able to help them resolve various problems and access different services within the NHS to maintain Brian’s ongoing rehabilitation.

She said: “Judo has been Brian’s salvation and he and his family have been very tenacious in helping him achieve the best he can through sport.

“Brian is a trier, he doesn’t sit back and think ‘oh poor me’.

“His head injury has left Brian with problems, but he has still managed to achieve such a lot, after all not everyone can say that they have carried the Olympic Torch!”


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Brian shows off his two olympic gold medals

A proud Brian with mum Jeanette,  and the Olympic Torch he carried for part of it's route through London, and he he can keep it!

(Pictures courtesy of the Paisley Daily Express)