How Chigwell teen survived brain haemorrhage to play football for Air Cadets

Dyla with his father Steve and mother Abie Snow

Dyla with his father Steve and mother Abie Snow - Credit: Archant

The fear of losing a child is a parent’s worst nightmare, but for one Redbridge man it nearly came true when his teenage son suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Dyla with his father Steve and mother Abie Snow

Dyla with his father Steve and mother Abie Snow - Credit: Archant

Steve Snow, 51, and his wife Abilene, 48, were watching the London Olympics on August 4, 2012 – the day since christened as “Super Saturday” because of the victories of Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah – when their son Dylan, 16, was taken ill.

His condition was so serious, they thought he might die.

But Dylan, now 17, has made a full recovery and demonstrated his remarkable upturn in health by being selected to play for the London Air Cadets’ football team.

He told the Recorder: “I just passed out and then what happened during the seizure I don’t really remember much.”

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Steve said: “When it happened I didn’t think for a minute that he would survive. It seemed like he was slipping away.

“A friend’s son died of a brain haemorrhage a month before and we just couldn’t believe it was also happening to us.

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“We are very lucky and grateful that he is now well and it is an achievement to be representing London [through the football team].

“It feels to me like the circle of recovery.”

Dylan, a sixth form student at West Hatch High School, Chigwell, first began experiencing symptoms when he developed severe head pains.

He began to lose his vision but, despite being concerned, his parents thought he may be suffering from a migraine.

Things took a turn for the worse when Dylan’s speech became incoherent and he couldn’t lift his arms up.

Steve, who also has a daughter, Harleigh, 21, said: “When he couldn’t speak properly it was like he was having a stroke and we started to panic. At that point we rang for an ambulance.

“He couldn’t see or speak, and it seemed like there was no colour in his eyes, they were black.

“He stopped knowing his name and our names and then he lost consciousness.”

Paramedic Warren Jones, 39, arrived on the scene four minutes after their call and managed to get a response from Dylan after shining a torch in his eyes.

An ambulance then arrived and Dylan, of St Marys Way, Chigwell, was taken to Queen’s Hospital, Romford, where he spent a week.

It was eventually confirmed that he had a cavernoma, an abnormal cluster of blood vessels in the brain which can leak, cause seizures and potentially cause strokes due to bleeding in the brain.

On December 21, he endured a four hour operation to remove it.

“It was four hours of hell,” said Steve. “But thankfully it all went well.”

Despite having a seizure in January, which caused the same symptoms as before, to a lesser extent, Dylan has been given a full bill of health and returned to his cadet group, the 241 Wanstead and Woodford Squadron, in June.

He described playing football for the London Air Cadets as amazing, adding: “I’d like to carry on playing football with my cadets and my school and, hopefully if I get into university, I can play for them.”

He hopes to study engineering, possibly at Loughborough University.

His father chose to speak out to thank the medical staff who treated his son.

He said: “The four minutes it took for the paramedic to arrive obviously felt like a long time to us, but he was fabulous. I’ve spoken to him since to thank him because he’s a lovely guy, he’s wonderful.

“And Queen’s Hospital gets a lot of bad press but I would say the staff were absolutely fabulous, just amazing.”

Warren, who has worked for the emergency services for 17 years, said: “I’m glad we had a positive outcome and that we were able to get him to the right place sooner rather than later.”

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