Read Andy's Story in Northampton's Chronicle and Echo

Published on

Andy Ibbott, suffered a massive stroke in March 2011, during a routine operation on his neck. His wife, Donna was told the devastating news that he might not survive the next seventy two hours. Despite all the odds Andy pulled through, although the effects of the stroke were apparent when he discovered he was unable to speak or move his right hand side. As director of the California Superbike School, a superbike racer himself and a keep-fit fanatic, the realisation was crushing. Andy a father-of-two, who once lived his life at 100 miles an hour, was forced to remain in bed for days at a time.

Eighteen weeks later he left hospital in a wheelchair. Once home he was completely dependent on Donna and a team of nurses, which he found difficult to cope with. The once independent and care free Andy was not able to feed himself - as the operation had left him unable to swallow - so he was fed through a tube in his stomach.

Having hit rock bottom, Andy refused to give up and was absolutely determined to get the life back that he so desperately craved. Refusing medication, which Andy says “probably didn’t help Donna at the time,” began focusing on his speech therapy and physiotherapy. His main aim was to walk again and get back the use of his right hand.

After weeks of gruelling exercises, his speech began to improve, although he was still experiencing problems with his right hand side. Andy was told his recovery had plateaued and he would always walk with a limp and a cane. Having seen how far he had come, Andy refused to accept that he would be forced to rely on a stick for the rest of his life, so he and Donna set about finding a private physiotherapist. It was during their search that they discovered PhysioFunction.

In June 2011, Andy made his first appointment there and has not looked back since. Jon Graham, Clinical Director of PhysioFunction, who treated Andy, says: “Physiofunction’s ability to offer hands on therapy, exercise and technology along with Andy’s sheer determination has enabled him to regain his independence”

Undergoing a series of innovocative treatments, Andy has continued to improve and has now thrown his stick away. He was advised to follow an FES System, which is a medical device designed to improve the walking ability of people who suffer foot drop. It stimulates the nerve-to-muscle signals in the leg and foot causing the foot to lift at the appropriate time when walking. This creates a smoother movement and a more natural and safer stepping motion. Andy also opted to use a SaeboFlex.

Last year Andy completed a tandem bike ride from London to Paris. The self-funded trip took him four days to complete and he raised £7000 for the Different Strokes charity in Milton Keynes.

In May Andy got back on a motorbike for the first time since his stroke at Silverstone race circuit in aid of the Bike Experience charity. The moment he got back in the saddle was a particularly poignant and emotional moment for him and his wife Donna

To read the story in Northampton's Chronicle and Echo