He survived an unprovoked attack that left him fighting for life but dad Martin Catterall feels his life is over.
The 30-year-old spent two weeks in a coma after being attacked by Jonathan Fitzsimmons when he stepped in to break up a pub fight.
Now, as the dad-of-four battles to rebuild his life, he has been left seeing a bereavement counsellor because he says: “I might not be dead but my life is”.
Martin, of Ampleforth Drive, Lostock Hall, was out in Chorley last November celebrating the birth of his baby girl – who he didn’t remember had been born after waking up from the coma two weeks later – when his life changed forever.
The new dad stepped in to break up a fight and was punched to the floor by a thug with more than a dozen previous convictions, mostly for drunken violence. He hit his head on the pavement and was left in a coma for 13 days.
It changed my mental state because I was becoming angry with myself for not being able to do things I could do before. I had vocal cord surgery in August, which failed, and at my first rugby training session I broke down because my body couldn’t cope.Martin Catterall
Now, almost a year later, he says he is still picking up the pieces from the attack that left his old life in tatters.
He has suffered from mood swings and depression and has split with his partner, left his job and been left unable to play his favourite sport, rugby because of the ongoing health effects of the assault.
Martin admits having thoughts of taking his own life and says he is still in a very low place as he battles to put his life back together.
“It’s just been one thing after another, not just physically but mentally,” Martin said. “It changed my mental state because I was becoming angry with myself for not being able to do things I could do before. I had vocal cord surgery in August, which failed, and at my first rugby training session I broke down because my body couldn’t cope.”
Martin’s attacker, Jonathan Fitzsimmons, was sent to prison for 14 months in June. The 25-year-old has 15 previous convictions.
And since the incident Martin has gone back to and left his job as a supervisor at Sliders UK, in Preston, and is now seeing a counsellor to help put his life back on track.
He said: “Losing the job was more of a blow mentally than financially. I would say I want to get back to my old life, but it’s like it doesn’t exist, so now I just want to move forward and do what’s best for me and my kids.”
He has now started working part-time using his skills as a joiner and believes with more counselling and help from family and friends he can turn his life around. “My friends were really supportive about breaking down at rugby saying it was only my first time back,” Martin said. “I’ve started going to the gym again and hopefully the next attempt at vocal cord surgery will be successful and I can use that as a platform and start to move forward.”
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