MAX REDMOND first started thinking about becoming a health professional about 10 years ago as he finished his graphic design, product design and business courses at Worcester Sixth Form College.

Becoming a paramedic was in the back of his mind but he soon took a warehouse job and started enjoying the independence from earning his own money.

But the former Tudor Grange pupil’s life took a sudden dramatic turn while out following his passion for motorbike riding.

He was in mid-Wales with a group of his biking enthusiast friends when he was involved in a major accident that was to change his life. He was just 20.

While riding through an S bend on a road in Powys, he had to brake suddenly and his bike shot away from under him sending him careering into an oncoming car. He was wedged under the vehicle with serious injuries.

He had been riding since the age of 16 and it was his first crash. It left him with a broken pelvis, shattered left hip, a head injury, broken arm, broken jaw, internal bleeding and ligament damage to his right knee.

Max, now 27 and living in Blackpole, said: “It was the first time I had ever crashed. I was in a critical state. I had just overtaken an off duty paramedic and he was the first on the scene. He stopped and called in to tell them to get the air ambulance.”

He was flown to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital where he was treated and placed in an induced coma. “They put me in an induced coma because my body could not cope with the trauma,” he said.

After about a week he was transferred to North Staffordshire Hospital where he stayed for a number of weeks. He was in the coma for six weeks altogether and the 6ft 3in young man lost five and half stones in weight.

His anxious parents were able to stay in hospital accommodation at North Staffordshire Hospital while Max started his recovery. Max said: “The doctors always give the worst case scenario. They were unsure how I would be when I came out of the coma. I could have been in a vegetative state or I could make a full recovery.”

Max has no memory of being in the coma – when he came round he thought it was the day after he had been out on his bike in Wales. But it was after surgery and regaining consciousness he met an occupational therapist (OT) for the first time.

It was not just the start of his conscious road to recovery but the beginning of his journey along a new career path.

Meeting and working with the OTs made a huge impression on him. “It was when I started my recovery that I first met an occupational therapist. They assessed me and tried to help me start to mobilise again.”

Max’s rehabilitation, which included learning to walk again, lasted from mid-2010 to the end of 2012, when he was finally able to walk independently - albeit with a walking stick.

During this time he received inpatient, community and rehabilitation input from OTs around the region including at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Moseley Hall Hospital and Moor Green Rehabilitation Centre.

“They helped me so much at every stage of the rehabilitation process, from giving me a self-propelling wheelchair so I could move myself around and take trips off the ward, to fitting my home with minor adaptations like rails to help me get in and out of the bath and shower,” added Max.

He said when he was a patient in Hazel Ward at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, the OTs were doing different assessments because of his head injury. “That got me interested in becoming an OT. Then when I was at Moor Green one of the OTs asked me what I wanted to do when I got out. She helped me to apply to Worcester College of Technology to do an access course to higher education course.

“I started to feel that I wanted to become an Occupational Therapist to help improve the health and wellbeing of others.”

Max completed his access course and then went on to study for a BSc Honours Degree in Occupational Therapy at Coventry University. He really enjoyed the course and passed with flying colours. He is now considering doing a Masters focusing on stroke patients.

When he finished his course he had to have surgery on his foot which left him in a cast for six weeks so he decided to write an article for OT News – the newsletter for members of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists – relaying his experience from being a patient to becoming a practitioner.

Max, who then secured a position as a Band 5 Occupational Therapist at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust and is currently working on the same ward where he was treated, is in the rare position of knowing exactly what it is like to be a trauma patient receiving support from OTs.

“I feel having the experience I went through benefits my work with patients. I have an understanding of the patients. My experience gives me an insight into what the patients are feeling.”

He added that his parents are extremely proud of him and what he has achieved.

Max is enormously grateful to the OTs who worked with him and wants to raise awareness of the important work they do. “The OTs who worked with me made me respect being able to do things for myself and appreciate it.

“OTs help patients to regain their independence. It can be simple things like helping them to get dressed and washing themselves or assessing if patients are going to be safe to go home. If they are not, there are things we can put in place. It promotes independence and OTs help people realise they can do more than they think they can.”

Max admits his accident has left him with some limitations physically – he can’t run or jump – but he continues to work on his body by going to the gym regularly.

“Mine was almost a full recovery. I am working on my body because I don’t want to plateau. I go to the gym before work and I go cycling after work. I have a charity night ride coming up in London for Cancer Research.

“I do plan to get a motorbike in the future but not for the roads. At the moment I am enjoying my bicycle.”