Former Chippenham rugby pro back on track after injury
Former professional rugby player Lee Audis, who spent a year in hospital after he suffered serious brain injuries in a car crash, is to take part in the Bath Half Marathon to raise funds for the team that helped him recover.
Lee, 25, of Wicks Drive, Chippenham, will walk and jog the 13.1-mile course on March 2 with his father Toni and brother Kevin, 27, in aid of the brain injury rehabilitation centre at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol.
His father said: “We are training together and we will stay together on the day no matter what. Lee is determined to finish the course. He is not up to actually running at the moment but we will walk and jog around.
“We are doing most of our training indoors on a running machine and cross trainer at the moment but as the race gets nearer we will go out on the streets.”
Staff from Frenchay Hospital will also join the run and Lee’s mum Janette will cheer from the sidelines.
Postman Mr Audis, 53, said: “We have set a target of £2,000 but it would be good to raise more if we can. Lee is still working hard on his physiotherapy and is getting stronger. The next step is to get him back to work this year.”
His son was badly injured in a crash in November 2011 when he was playing professional rugby for Doncaster Knights. The former pupil of Sheldon School, Chippen-ham, broke his skull and was in a coma for two months at Leeds General Infirmary. He then spent ten months at the brain injury rehabilitation unit at Frenchay learning to eat, drink and walk again.
He was able to go home to Chippenham just over a year ago and has now set his sights on becoming a rugby coach.
Another man who has made a remarkable recovery from serious head injuries is hairdresser Isaac Shaw, who is running the Bath Half Marathon as a personal challenge.
Mr Shaw, 30, who works at Hairport in Chippenham, was left in a coma after he was assaulted outside Bar E11evn in the town centre in July, 2012. He has undergone two major operations and has a titanium plate in his head.
He said: “I still get headaches and suffer some tenderness when I am running but the big thing for me is to try to get my confidence back, and doing the race will help me to do that. “I am raising money for the charity Headway. I didn’t go to them myself but it is a charity I can relate to.”
On the day he will be joined by training partner Alice Bubb, 18, who is a client at the hair salon. She is raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Mr Shaw, of Monkton Park, Chippenham, said: “I thought it would take me more than three hours to run the race but now I hope I can do it in under two-and-a-half.”
He is hoping to raise at least £1,000 for Headway.