A brave Padiham man who amazed doctors by walking again after suffering severe brain damage in a road accident has celebrated a milestone birthday.
Ryan Cooper was in a coma for six months after being hit by a car as a child in 1999 and doctors feared he may never be able to walk or even feed himself again.
But inspirational Ryan, who confounded surgeons with his astonishing recovery, marked his 21st birthday in style at a party surrounded by friends and family at Lowerhouse Canteen.
The computer game fan, who has a wheelchair but can now walk with a stick, had an Xbox cake and even a cheeky surprise when a stripper turned up to help celebrate his coming of age.
The former Ridgewood pupil, of Bear Street, Lowerhouse, said: “It was a really good day. I had a great time.”
Ryan, who has done a IT course at Nelson and Colne College and does regular swimming, strength and physio, is now looking to the future.
He said: “I represented my school at boccia and was team captain and even played against a world champion. I would really like to get back into it.
“I would love to volunteer and maybe get youngsters into it by teaching them and giving them good coaching. It is good for your fitness and it teaches discipline and how to be patient.”
Ryan was knocked down by a car in Stockbridge Road near his home and suffered serious head injuries, a cracked pelvis and a broken collar bone aged six.
Padiham residents rallied round to raise money for the youngster and the unit at Pendlebury Hospital which cared for him.
Mum Debbie Hughes said: “It is nice for people in Padiham to know that he has turned 21 and doing well.
“He has really come on in leaps and bounds. He is still in a wheelchair but he can walk with a stick – doctors did not think he would be able to do anything like that.
“He was in a coma for six months but he has done rehabilitation over the years and he has been so determined and independent.
“He had to be fed through a tube at the beginning and they didn’t think he would be able to feed himself or ever walk again but he has proved them all wrong.
“We are all incredibly proud of him. It is amazing to see.”