WORLD (NEXSTAR) – A British teenager who has been in a coma for the past ten months has just woken up, according to local reporting from the United Kingdom. Joseph Flavill, 19, was in a serious car accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury on March 1 of last year — before much of the world locked down to the COVID-19 pandemic, Staffordshire Live first reported. When Flavill awoke nearly 11 months later, the teen had no knowledge of the pandemic.
“It’s almost like he slept through the whole pandemic,” his aunt, Sally Flavill-Smith, told Staffordshire Live.
Flavill caught COVID twice while in the hospital, once while in a coma and a second time while awake, though he recovered each time. “When he comes out of this, life will not be as he knows it at all,” another aunt, Kate Yarbo, told CNN. “How do you describe it? I think it’s going to be a shock. We’re all still processing it — I’m not sure you can actually ever describe how this pandemic feels.”
Since awaking, Flavill’s “progress has been rapid,” according to CNN. Though he can’t yet speak clearly, he’s beginning to gain control of his limbs and is starting to laugh at jokes.
“We are also very excited to report that Joseph has started to emerge slowly from his stage-two coma, and is beginning to respond to simple commands and stimulation,” the family wrote on the teen’s recovery website, Joseph’s Journey.
They have raised nearly $40,000 to help with costs associated with Flavill’s care after he leaves the hospital.