A Melton man who is unable to walk unaided after being struck down by stroke-like symptoms is being helped to achieve his dream of playing golf again through special therapy sessions given by a friend who recovered from a serious brain injury.
Don Povey (71) started feeling unwell from December 2016 and gradually he lost the ability to control the limbs on the left side of his body.
He began losing his balance and fell more than 40 times, breaking bones and sustaining cuts and grazes, and he relunctantly had to give up his regular games at Melton Golf Club.
Despite a series of tests by doctors and other medical staff, the cause of his condition was not determined and Don, a grandfather, faced living the rest of his life as a disabled man.
That was until a chance meeting with Andy Clifton - a former work colleague at the town’s Astons garage - in Melton Country Park.
Andy (46), who nearly died after falling and hitting his head while working as a mechanic at a motor racing meeting 20 years ago, told the Melton Times: “I was out for a walk and met Don who was in his motor scooter.
“He just wasn’t speaking very well and I immediately thought he must have had a stroke.
“Because I had been through a brain injury I knew where he was in his head and I thought I would be able to help him get his movement and balance back again.”
Andy was on a life support machine in the intensive care unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, and it took him five years to recover.
He initially couldn’t co-ordinate the left and right sides of his body as a result of the trauma but was helped to regain his mobility control by Melton-based company SAQ International, which specialises in innovative movement training.
Andy then took a training course himself with the company so he could help others and he is making rapid strides in restoring Don’s co-ordination after working with him for just 10 weeks.
The spend time together going through a series of exercises and movements where Don has to trust himself to perform them unaided after initial support from Andy.
Don recently experienced the thrill of being able to swing a golf club again without falling over 30 months after having to give the game up, and he is now able to do complicated movements such as going down on his haunches and standing up again.
“When he swung that club properly for the first time it was a reall buzz for me because I could see all of his neuromuscular connections were working and it was clear that everything we had been doing was really helping him,” said Andy.
Don is indebted to the help he is receiving in the sessions because he says it is giving him direction and a sense that he can regain control over his body.
He said: “I used to play golf six times a week and I got my handicap down to 16.
“I miss playing golf more than anything else and I have this target in my head that I would love to be playing again by next summer even if it’s the worst game of golf I’ve ever played.
“I’ve got hope now thanks to Andy.”