A cyclist who suffered a life-threatening brain injury will take his final university exam


A student who suffered a life-threatening brain injury when he was knocked off his bike has defied expectations to take his final university exams.

Billy Draper-Barr was in a fight for his life when his bike and a car, which pulled away ahead of him from a side road in Hammersmith, collided.

The mechanical engineering student from Imperial College London was taken to St Mary’s Hospital and underwent an emergency craniotomy to relieve bleeding in the brain.

Following the collision, Billy, from Hammersmith, appointed expert serious injury lawyers for Irwin Mitchell to help him access the specialist care and therapy he needs.

His legal team at Irwin Mitchell secured an interim payment to fund Billy’s ongoing rehabilitation, including physiotherapy, neuropsychology, occupational therapy as well as speech therapy.

The 22-year-old continued his recovery, catching up on his studies to take his final exams. Billy is now applying for jobs, including in Europe.

In November, he also won Sportsman of the Year at the Holbein Memorial Awards hosted by the City & Guilds College Union.

Billy, who was forced to give up rugby due to his injury, won the award for his work with Imperial College Union Rugby Club helping to support the club and its members during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He now supports Action for Brain Injury week to thank those who have helped him and to raise awareness of the support available following injury.

He said: “I remember seeing a car pulling out in front of me and not having time to react, then I was on the ground.

“I still don’t know how I managed but I crawled by the side of the road, called 999 and the next thing I remember was waking up in hospital after surgery to the brain.

“Before the accident, I had everything mapped out in front of me.

“I was enjoying college and making great progress in my studies while meeting new friends, but suddenly everything changed. Since then, I’ve felt like life has been a mix of doctor appointments while trying to come to terms with my injuries, but also trying to catch up on college.

“Because of my injuries, I thought maybe I should give up college and my career and look at different options, so it means so much to me to have been able to pass my finals and start looking for a job.

“I can’t thank everyone who helped me enough for all their support.

“I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for them.”

Sarah Griggs, Irwin Mitchell’s expert serious injury lawyer representing Billy, said: ‘Billy suffered some truly terrible injuries in the collision which left him facing a very uncertain future.

“However, thanks to the excellent medical care he received and early access to rehabilitation, Billy made a remarkable recovery in such a short time.

“Given the severity of his brain injury, the fact that he was able to catch up so quickly to be able to sit his final university exams is a feat in itself.

“However, Billy continues to face challenges and his case is a stark reminder of how people can continue to be affected by brain injury long after the physical injuries have subsided.

“It’s great to see Billy’s progress and we will continue to support him so he can continue to access the specialist rehabilitation and support he needs to maximize his recovery.”


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