An inspirational man from Leeds who sustained life-threatening brain injuries in a car accident 17 years ago has travelled the world and published a book on what makes him “different.”
What happened to Max?
Max Muteliso, originally from Alwoodley was 20 years of age when the car he was a back seat passenger in was involved in a serious road traffic incident. He suffered a fractured skull and severe internal bleeding to his brain, leaving him with weakness down one side of his body and having to use a wheelchair. He also sustained some impairment to his vision.
What's happened now?
Now after working closely with specialist serious injury and court of protection lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, one of the largest full service law firms in the UK, 37-year-old Max has rebuilt his life and even written his own book about his travelling experiences – Headfirst Thrills On Wheels – which was published last year. In addition, he has joined forces with Irwin Mitchell to show support for Headway’s Action For Brain Injury Week, which runs from 20 to 26 May. This year’s theme is ‘Brain Drain – Wake Up To Fatigue!’ which is something that Max is all too familiar with, as he experiences problems with memory, concentration and fatigue since his brain injury.
A little help...
Max lives independently, but to help with his daily challenges Irwin Mitchell successfully secured him a settlement which was used to help pay for a specially adapted bungalow. This also helped fund lifelong care for him and allowed him to return to education.
Joanne Fraser, a specialist Court of Protection lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who helped Max to manage the funds, said: “The injuries that Max had to deal with were horrific, but he has shown that with determination he has been able to get his life back on track.
“As part of Irwin Mitchell’s IAmAble campaign, we have been focusing on the ability of our clients, rather than their disability, and Max is a great example of someone that has turned his life around following a tragic experience.
“In our day-to-day work, we see many cases of brain injuries and while it is easy to dwell on the difficulties of life following on from an injury, Max should inspire us all to push ourselves to be the best we can be and to live life to the full.”
Following the accident, Max’s brain injury meant he did not have capacity to manage his finances and he was placed under Court of Protection care. Now he has recovered enough to regain capacity to manage his property and finances, with a Trust now in place for him to do this.
Writing his book
Additionally, Max’s recovery has gone from strength to strength in recent years.
He said: “I graduated as a Town and Regional Planner in 2012 and worked as an intern at Leeds City Council. However, due to the lack of a driving licence, I found it elusive to procure a town planning job.
“In 2015, I decided to travel around the globe as an Accessibility and Inclusion Independent Researcher, and in 2018 I published my first book – Headfirst Thrills On Wheels - about my travelling experiences. I always wanted to write a book and create my own metaphors, therefore the book is not only literary, but also eye-opening and enlightening.”
Discussing his daily challenges, Max added: “I’m fine, meaning I have no pain now, but the physical challenges are the order of the day.
“When indoors particularly in my house I try to use my crutches as much as possible, and I use my outdoor electric chair when out of the house.
“Being disabled makes me different and difference is what makes this world. Better yet, I use my difference to see what another person might not see.”
Max is a member of Headway Leeds, the local branch of the UK-wide charity that supports people affected by brain injury.
Luke Griggs, director of Communications for Headway, said: “Max epitomises the idea that with the right help, at the right time, there can be life after brain injury. He is an inspiration to other people living with the long-term effects of brain injury.”
Headfirst Thrills On Wheels is available to buy from Amazon at www.amazon.com/dp/B07L9FWWB9 or Lulu.
In 2011, Max received the Achiever of the Year Award at the Headway Annual Awards from broadcaster Beverley Turner
Headway’s latest campaign is Brain Drain: Wake up to Fatigue! - highlighting how fatigue affects people following brain injury
For more information, visit www.headway.org.uk.
For more information on Irwin Mitchell visit www.irwinmitchell.com