David Gammell celebrates graduation from UCS 12 years after suffering head injury in horrific 40ft fall
- Credit: Archant
After a horrific accident which left him barely able to walk David Gammell faced a number of operations to save his life.
But now the 34-year-old has overcome the odds to graduate from University Campus Suffolk and put the trauma he suffered in 2002 behind him.
While working on a ship at Ipswich docks, Mr Gammell fell around 40ft between shipping containers, leading to a serious head injury which means he now has impaired hearing and vision and a metal plate in his head.
But the former Royal Anglian infantryman, who served in Northern Ireland for two years, battled back from the life-changing event and left UCS this month with a 2:1 degree in diagnostic radiography.
He now works at the James Paget Hospital at Gorleston, Great Yarmouth.
Mr Gammell said: “I always wanted to give something back and in my job now every day I can.
“Everyone was really proud of me at the graduation.”
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Mr Gammell said he decided to take up radiography after a student performed an x-ray on him during a visit to hospital during his recovery.
After completing an access course (he joined the military straight from school and did not have any A-levels) he did a year of radiotherapy before switching to diagnostic radiography.
He admits there were many challenges during the course because of his impaired hearing.
“I was fighting a losing battle with my hearing a lot of the time because the surgeon’s mouths are covered with masks,” he explained.
“That was really challenging. It’s still going to be a challenge when I go into theatre on my own.”
Mr Gammell thanked UCS for the support they gave him during his course, saying they were always willing to go the extra mile to help.
On his recovery he said it was a difficult process, having to learn to walk again and developing non-verbal communication skills lost as a result of his head injury.
“For the first four years after the accident I was on medication, I wasn’t really myself, I can’t remember a lot of the time. It was 2007 or 2008 when I started to adapt to it.”
“It was very difficult but for those first four years it was just pure recovery.”
Despite the scale of his remarkable recovery Mr Gammell insisted he is not special “in the slightest” but added: “It was human nature to battle against the things keeping me down.”
And for others who might find themselves facing similar situations he said no matter what might happen to you, you can still do whatever you want.