Teen suffers memory loss after head clash

A Mapua teenager who cannot remember anything about his life since Labour Day is grateful to the community rallying around him, helping him recover and get on with life.

Waimea College student Hamish Worsley, 17, suffered a head injury when he clashed heads with another player at a football match and suffered a concussion, on October 22. Hamish was taken to Christchurch Hospital, but is back at home "getting on with his life", father Gordon Worsley said yesterday.

"The support from the community has been fantastic."

There had been constant offers of help from friends and community members as Hamish re-integrated back into life, he said.

"He can't remember any details about his life. It's like he's re-learning it all again, like a re-birth," Mr Worsley said. Getting back into his life was so important to his recovery because he could figure out what he liked and who he was again.

The family were working with head injury specialists as Hamish recovered, but they were unable to give any long-term expectations.

The family declined to make any further comment about the injury because Hamish wanted to concentrate on getting back to his life again, Mr Worsley said.

Massey University senior lecture Duncan Babbage, an expert in neuro-rehabilitation and clinical psychology, said long-term memory loss was uncommon in brain injuries.

It was usual that a person who suffered a brain injury would forget a few hours, up to a few days before their accident depending on the severity.

He said that with brain injuries it was expected that memory history would eventually return, although memory difficulties were one of the most common problems experienced after the injury.

However, short-term memory problems could be the result of concentration difficulties rather than a lack of remembering.

"Attention and concentration difficulties are common in brain injuries so even if your memory system is working you are not going to be able to recall something if you weren't paying attention to it."

The Nelson Mail