Paul Pugh sustained a brain injury following a vicious unprovoked assault during a night out in his home town of Ammanford, Carmarthenshire in January, 2007.
A gang of men, who were unknown to Paul, repeatedly punched and kicked him so hard that he fractured his skull causing a blood clot that would leave him in a coma for more than two months.
These symptoms have brought many challenges, but more than 10 years on, Paul is very upbeat about the affect his brain injury has had on his life.
He said: “I definitely feel that it's had a positive impact because I've learned more about life in the last ten years than I did in the first twenty seven.
“I have learnt that a trauma like mine is 70% psychological and only 30% physical. With the help of intense therapy and counselling I’m now mentally stronger and I’m able to overcome what happened to me and move forward. I found by paying close attention and appreciating the important things in life you can move forward.”
Paul said he felt like a new person after his brain injury and was excited to share his story as part of this year’s A New Me campaign.
He said: “I really like the A New Me campaign as it provides me an opportunity to share my story and explain that this new me I have become means absolutely everything.
I've been given a second chance, which not everyone gets in life and I appreciate every second of it.
“I feel like a new person and my perspective of life has totally changed. What seemed to be important before is no longer as important as I thought.”
Paul said despite the length of time he has been living with his brain injury, people in his life still don’t understand many aspects of how it affects him.
He said: “People don’t really understand - even after ten years. I thought they would by now.
“At first I just felt that they weren't paying attention to my situation as much they should have, but I've learnt that you can't change other people, no matter how much you want to.
“If a person wants to understand and change, they have to take responsibility and change themselves. Life would be much better and easier if people did understand though.”
Paul has gained a lot of confidence by also sharing his story with students from schools and colleges from across his region.
He said: “I voluntarily go around with the Dyfed-Powys Police giving talks to school pupils, colleges, universities and sport clubs explaining the dangers of alcohol and drugs related violence.
“I even acknowledged the 10th anniversary of my assault by delivering a presentation at the launch of a police campaign named after me.
“It’s called Paulspledge and asks people to sign up and show their support to vow to never condone violent behaviour, to walk away from aggression and violence.
It was a strange way to acknowledge the anniversary of my brain injury, but it was a proud moment and showed just how far the ‘new me’ had come.
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