Our Founder and Chair Jan Rock founded this charity following her own son’s serious accident. In 2010 the 16 year old sustained multiple trauma injuries following a climbing accident; which included a severe traumatic brain injury.
When Callum emerged from a medically induced coma – three and a half weeks later – he couldn’t see, talk, walk, move, or swallow. Medics told the family that this ‘the Callum that they had got back’. Jan therefore has first-hand experience of child brain injury and the complex ongoing effects that influence everyday life; which is what makes Matrix Neurological so unique. Unlike some other children’s charities, we have actually ‘lived’ the nightmare!
On being discharged from hospital ten weeks later, Jan stopped working to concentrate on her son’s neurological rehabilitation as nothing else existed to effectively meet his complex needs and support his on-going recovery. Determined to help her son and following extensive research she devised her own recovery programme based on sound project management techniques, which very quickly delivered astonishing results that surprised everyone including his doctors.
Jan subsequently fought to gain the help and support Callum needed to continue to progress. Navigating her way around very disjointed public service provision was extremely difficult and very stressful; however through campaigning and her sheer determination she was eventually able to obtain a package of support from Middlesbrough Council to help facilitate his ongoing recovery.
By June 2012 Callum had made such significant progress he was selected to be an Olympic Torchbearer in the Torchbearers Relay.
Four years later Callum continues to make significant improvements and has just completed an BTEC Extended Diploma at Middlesbrough College, where he gained the highest grade possible; triple Distinction Star (D* D* D*) which equates to 420 UCAS Points. It is now about 5 years post-injury and Callum has now been awarded a place at York St John University in York to undertake a BSc. Honours Degree Course in Physiotherapy.
Jan now hopes to use her experiences and aspirations for Callum’s ongoing recovery to help other children, young people and their parents and carers in their long road to recovery following an acquired brain injury. MATRIX will make an important and long term contribution to the safety, welfare and treatment of children and young people.
"We would like to see earlier identification and support for children with brain injuries to help them succeed in school."
"Too often children and young people with ABI are discharged from hospital without specialist brain support that they and their families need to overcome lifelong challenges"
"Restoration of anatomical functions and relationships must be done within 2 months of brain injury"
"We are medical practitioners. The real experts are the parents. Over the last 35 years they have taught me everything I know"
"Intensive and individualized approaches work. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't. You have to make it relevant to the child."
"Participation in teen sports and normal activities leads to improved quality of life for children and young people post brain injury and helps to maximise outcomes"
"More play increases brain plasticity and makes for better recovery post brain injury"
"Different 'experts' involved in pediatric neuro-rehabilitation come from different organisational cultures which causes conflict and has a negative effect on the outcomes for the child."
"Families and professionals spend time focusing on the negative aspects of ABI. Families need to be properly supported as 'resilience' is key to delivering successful outcomes for children and young people."
"There are problems with getting people into neuro-rehab centres. Those most in need are often those most excluded due to a lack of socio-economic resources."