Despite sustaining a serious brain injury in a horror car crash, Limavady stduent Paul McDermott is celebrating this week after achieving full marks in his exams.
Paul is a student at the NWRC in Limavady and, in addition to the host of awards and accolades he has picked up already, he found out this week he had achieved the equivalent of three A*s at A-Level and has been accepted to study law at University. He gained a triple distinction star award in his diploma course - the highest possible award.
This is despite being forced to cope with a severe brain injury sustained in a car crash around three years ago. After the accident he had to be resuscitated three times. He was in a coma for nine days. He suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung and, perhaps most seriously, bleeding in the brain and extensive memory loss.
Paul, who is from the Carmoney Road between Campsie and Eglinton, gained the highest mark possible after studying for a Level Three Extended Diploma in Business Studies at the North West Regional College in Limavady. He gained a ‘Triple Distinction Star’ award - the highest possible.
This is despite the fact that he has been living with a brain injury since he was in a car crash a few years ago. The local man suffered horrific injuries. Afterwards, his brain injuries meant he suffered with anxiety, anger and memory loss.
Paul was forced to abandon a successful career as a young car mechanic, due to the damage to both his body and his brain, but with the help of local charity the Cedar Foundation, as well as occupational therapists and others, decided to embark upon a course of academic study with the long term aim of becoming a lawyer. With his excellent results in his Diploma, he has now been accepted to study law at the University of Ulster at Magee in Londonderry. He said: “I will be starting at Magee and I’m just waiting on the emails to come through before I know when. I have to get everything sorted now, but I’m very happy.”
His ‘Triple Distinction Star’ award is simply the latest in a string of accolades in his academic career to date, however. Despite his modesty, Paul told the Sentinel about the awards he has picked up already this year: “In the Northern Ireland Vocational Qualification Learner of the year awards I was a finalist, I was highly commended in the National BTEC awards 2013 in the Outstanding BTEC business and enterprise student category, I was E-SKills learner of the year for Derry and Northern Ireland at the awards ceremony, I was also a finalist at the FSB/Colleges NI ‘Future Students of Business’.”