Sam suffered a spinal injury at 17 – this is his rehabilitation journey with Care in the Home

Sam suffered a spinal injury at 17 – this is his rehabilitation journey with Care in the Home


Sam, our Care in the Home in the South client, was 17 when he was in a car crash which broke his neck and resulted in a spinal injury. He had surgery to fix his spine and then was transferred to a spinal unit in Glasgow where he spent 7 months in rehabilitation.

Before Sam’s injury, he had been offered a place to study at Oxford University. He wanted to start his university experience straight away, but he decided to take a year out to give himself more time to recover from his injury.

Sam came out of hospital in July 2010 and remained at home in Scotland. He had carers who would visit him in the mornings to help with his personal care.

A year later Sam went to Oxford University which is when he started to receive Care in the Home with Active Care Group.

Sam had live-in care during his time at university for 5 years. He had two regular live-in Support Workers who he became good friends with. Sam said:

“I had a regular Support Worker, David, when I started university. It was nice to get to know him because he was a similar age group to me. We had a similar outlook on life, and it didn’t feel intrusive with him around. He became part of my friendship group.

“I feel very lucky with the Support Workers I had because they were lovely, supportive, and they helped me to organise and manage my life. They made my life as easy as possible, and I got to know them very well. They also played a massive role in helping me go on holidays and I’m very grateful for that.”

To begin with Sam had a lot of support from his Support Workers with dressing, showering, personal care, cleaning, cooking, and getting around, but eventually he became a lot more independent.

In 2014 Sam started playing wheelchair rugby which he not only fell in love with, but it also helped him to move forward in his recovery journey. Sam said:

“I was sporty before the injury but after it, I hadn’t had much of an opportunity to play sport, particularly team sport. My Manager at Active Care Group heard about a new club starting near Oxford, so I decided to join. I fell in love with the sport. It helped me to become more active, stronger, and also helped me to make friends with other people with spinal injuries.

“Playing rugby has helped me to move forward in myself both physically and mentally. It’s built my confidence and allowed me to see the possibilities of equipment I can use.

“In 2020 I joined the Great British Talent Development Team where we would travel to different tournaments. This encouraged me to be as independent as possible. In October 2022 I reached a big milestone because I went away without a Support Worker for the first time. It made me start to realise that I didn’t need someone around all the time.”

After university Sam moved to London where his live-in care continued, and recently he has reached a point where he no longer requires Care in the Home. Sam said:

“In the last six months I have been able to do most things by myself because of the techniques I’ve learnt and the equipment I am using.

“For example, when it comes to dressing myself in the morning, over time I practised putting my socks on to figure out the best way to do it so that it didn’t take ten minutes. And then eventually the process became quicker.

“It’s been an adjustment going from Care in the Home to living independently but I’ve really enjoyed it. While it was nice to build great relationships with my Support Workers, I love having my living space to myself.

“I live in a flat with my girlfriend and our cat with minimal support. I only have a support worker now who comes round to help with things around the house.

“I got to a stage where I was ready to be independent. My partner has been really supportive too. It’s been a long process, but things started to click into place.

“I was nervous transitioning into living independently and wondered how I would cope but it’s worked out better than I expected, and I haven’t had any issues. I’m definitely pleased with how it’s turned out.”