A COURAGEOUS Coventry cop is back in the job he loves – a year on from being mowed down by a car and left in a coma.
PC Chris Burnham has defied the medical odds since the shift which nearly cost him his life a year ago.
The 48-year-old father was seriously injured after he was knocked down by a fleeing driver in Holbrooks, Coventry.
It was initially feared that neighbourhood officer Chris would be in an induced coma for weeks, and remain in hospital well into 2020.
But as medical teams successfully reduced the swelling and pressure on his brain he was fully conscious – although disorientated – after six days.
And remarkably just 21 days after being admitted he was discharged from hospital and on his first steps to recovery.
Chris returned to policing in June and started a new role with Coventry Police’s partnerships team.
“No one expected me to be in this position. Not six months ago and certainly not 12 months ago,” said Chris. “My recovery is down to a bit of luck, a bit of effort and a lot of NHS.”
Chris has no desire to dwell on what happened after spotting a man, wanted over a domestic robbery, on the afternoon of September 25 last year.
As the man’s car was caught in traffic the officer sprinted over to make the arrest. However, the driver sped off and veered right around an island before hitting Chris who was thrown onto the bonnet and his head smashed the windscreen.
He hasn’t been counting down the days to this year anniversary, instead seeing it as another step in his road to recovery.
“It’s something that has happened and is never going to go away but it will not hold me back,” he said.
Chris suffered serious leg injuries and has three screws holding his left knee cap together now. He cannot run but has pushed through the pain barrier and with flexibility returning to his leg he can walk, swim and cycle.
Despite what he’s suffered, Chris says his recovery has never been fuelled by a feeling of or need for vengeance.
In March, banned driver Tekle Lennox was jailed for seven years after admitted wounding with intent to resist arrest. The 37-year-old was also given four months after pleading guilty to possession of drugs.
“It’s been more about getting better than seeking vengeance. I feel justice has been done. I was impressed with the judge, CPS and the whole court process and content with the sentence as it was what I expected.
“I was glad to see the back of the court case and felt better when it had been laid to rest,” he said.
Chris has fortunately suffered no long-term psychological damage, and even driven by the site of the incident several times.
With no recollection of the incident or the following 10-15 days Chris asked to watch the unedited footage showing the immediate aftermath of the incident.
In 1996 Chris suffered a broken jaw while on duty and during his 27 years in the job he has suffered his share of scars. But he admits this latest experience has made him more aware of the risks and dangers officers face.
“We do a dangerous job. We are in a role where when it goes wrong, it can go wrong very quickly. That shouldn’t stop us from doing things, it’s about remembering stay aware and keeping safe.”
His road to recovery has been assisted by the warm wishes of members of the public.
Chris said: “I would really like to thank the large number of people, from Coventry and further afield, who have provided support and well wishes. It’s been a massive help to me and my family over the last year.”