STOURPORT Swifts striker Rory Curtis has returned to light training with the team almost six months after suffering life-threatening injuries in a horrific motorway pile-up.
The 23-year-old suffered serious head and skeletal injuries when the van he was driving was involved in a multiple vehicle collision on the M42 near Tamworth last August.
Following an intensive rehab programme at Moseley Hall Hospital, Curtis has been given the go-ahead to link up with his team-mates at Walshes Meadow and took part in a training session before last Saturday’s 3-1 Midland Alliance victory over Continental Star.
Curtis is now targeting the start of next season for a full return to action.
He said: “I think, because I’ve always been involved in sport, a lot of the physio and strength-building work came quite naturally to me and I’m so pleased that it’s paid off and it won’t be long before I can get back to playing football again.
“The treatment has been absolutely first class. The staff were brilliant to me — you develop quite a strong relationship when you spend two months in hospital.”
Swifts have supported the player during his recovery and have raised around £1,500 for the hospital through bucket collections and fund-raising events.
Chairman Chris Reynolds said: “He says he’s going to play again so I hope he does. He’s got a long way to go but at least he’s jogging round.
“He can’t do any contact sport yet but he just started jogging round the pitch. It’s very good to see him back.”
Rory’s mum Vee said her son’s recovery was the latest example of his fighting spirit in the face of adversity.
“I had to have an emergency caesarean when he was born. We had a police escort to hospital when he had meningitis at the age of seven,” she said.
“Even before he was born there was a scare involving some treatment I needed which would have put him at serious risk.
“So we know very well he’s a fighter and a survivor. But he has needed the enthusiasm and very personalised care of all the healthcare professionals, who have really gone the extra mile to help him recover. We are incredibly grateful.”
Occupational therapist Ruth Banner added: “Rory is a good example of how, with a combination of urgent specialist care and a determination to recover, people can make an excellent recovery from a traumatic brain injury.”