Miraculous recovery after severe brain injury

Johno Stevens, a personal trainer from AnyTime Fitness in Pukekohe, has had a miraculous recovery from what could have been a fatal accident.

On Christmas Day, 19 year old Johno’s life changed forever after he fell off the back of a ute, fracturing his skull as he hit the ground, suffering a severe brain injury.
Westpac Helicopter crew were called, but he was taken by ambulance to Middlemore Hospital.

Doctors described his injuries as “horrendous”, but three weeks after the accident, Johno was alive, walking and talking and retelling his story. It’s the story he’s been told by friends and family, because of the severity of the incident he doesn’t remember it himself.

Johno was taken to the intensive care unit at Middlemore, before being transported to Auckland City Hospital’s neurology unit. He was put into an induced coma because he was suffering from swelling on the brain and seizures. “The doctors initially thought I wouldn’t make it,” Johno said.

After waking from the coma, the next day he began to breathe on his own. “The doctors said if I stayed alive, I’d probably have life-changing injuries, like issues with walking and talking.”
He was transferred to a rehab unit where multiple tests were conducted. One was carried out to determine the severity of Johno’s brain injury. Generally, if the patient can’t complete this test successfully within 24 hours then it is considered severe. It took Johno 13 days to complete it.

Three weeks after the incident, Johno was recovering from home and was walking, talking, and getting back to a semi-regular way of life. He says he believes his healthy lifestyle and strong mental attitude has helped his recovery. Johno knows it’s a long road ahead. He has regular appointments with his occupational therapist, physiotherapist and speech and language therapists, among others. “The doctors said I had no signs of permanent injury.” What would usually take at least five weeks in hospital, saw him pass through hospital, the rehab centre, and end up back home, in three.

Tash Rogers who works with Johno said he is a determined person. “He’s self-driven and strong-minded and that’s why he’s done so well recovering,” she said. “He’s one in a million. Johno would always be the first person to do anything for anyone.”

Johno says it is strange to reflect on the incident, considering he can’t remember much.

“I’m glad. I can’t really explain it, but I feel very blessed. One day I just woke up and something was different. It was as if something had clicked and I could think again.”

While working out and driving are off the list of things he’s allowed to do, Johno still has goals he wants to achieve, including growing his business, JT Aesthetics. “My goals are the same, just with a different timeline,” he said.

His injury has made him even more determined to live out each day and inspire others, which is part of his job as a personal trainer. “My advice is ‘don’t take anything for granted, and make the most of today’.” Johno says he is also thankful for the wonderful support he’s recieved from friends and family, as well as many of his clients.

AnyTime Fitness will be holding a boot camp on Mondays and Wednesdays from 29 January to 5 March at Navigation Homes Stadium, for a small donation.
“If anything, we want to motivate people to start today because you never know what tomorrow will bring,” Tash said. The boot camp starts at 6pm, and everyone is welcome to come along.


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