A YOUNG Motherwell mechanic who was stabbed through the eye with a golf umbrella has spoken of his long and painful fight back to health and fitness.
Ross Hamilton's life was turned upside down after the attack at a taxi rank in the town. It left him paralysed down the right side and he spent months in hospital, first undergoing treatment to save his eye then intense physiotherapy to get him back on his feet.
Now, more than a year on, the 21-year-old has made significant progress and is even looking forward to getting back to work.
Last month his attacker, Lewis Leah (20), also of Motherwell, was locked up for four and a half years when he admitted carrying out the assault in Airbles Street in December 2009.
The blow to the head put him in a coma for five days and was paralysed down the right side of his body due to the damage sustained to his brain - he couldn't move his face, arm and right leg. The damaged eye had to be stitched together and was badly swollen.
It took almost six months of intensive physio and speech therapy just to get him out of the hospital and back on his feet. As well as the physical aspect, the trauma has had a serious psychological impact.
He added: "I still go to physio every Friday. The rehabilitation has been soul-destroying at times, but I have had to keep pushing hard just to get back to some kind of normal life. That's all I can hope for at the moment."
Ross can now walk with the help of a leg brace and his speech has returned, but he still has no feeling in his right arm which means it could be another six months before he can return to his job at Kwik Fit where he works as a mechanic. That is just one of many targets Ross has set for himself in 2011.
Full story in January 6 edition of Motherwell Times His family have played a key part in his recovery and his dad, Graham, feels there is still a lot of work ahead.
Graham said: "The improvement Ross has made so far has been great, but we are getting to the stage where his recovery will be much slower and making progress will be harder. Despite this, he knows that all of the family will be with him every step of the way."
Ross feels lucky to have had such support.
He said: "I want to thank my mum and dad as well as close family and friends who have helped me through this difficult year. They know who they are and I can't thank them enough for being there."