British Columbia

'You still see your little boy in there': Jessie Simpson's mother finding reasons for hope after bat attack

Kamloops B.C., mother Sue Simpson is opening up about her son Jessie and the injuries he suffered in a vicious baseball attack two and a half years ago.

2016 baseball bat attack left Jessie Simpson with a catastrophic brain injury and in a coma for 10 months

Sue Simpson wants to eventually bring her son Jessie home to live with her after he suffered a catastrophic brain injury in a baseball bat attack in June 2016. (Shelley Joyce/CBC)

It's been more than a year-and-a-half since Jessie Simpson, 21, woke from the coma he fell into after a vicious baseball bat attack left him with a catastrophic brain injury.

Jessie's mother Sue has been by his side since the attack, but she hasn't yet shared with Jessie the truth of what happened to him.

"It's hard. It's hard to know how to tell that to him," Simpson said. "I'd want to do that with him but with counselling."

For now, all Jessie knows is that he has a bump on his head. What happened to him is both unimaginable and horrifying.

Jessie got separated from his friends after the teens were at a house party celebrating their high school graduation in June 2016 in Kamloops. 

In an attempt to find his way back to a friend's house Jessie wandered into a homeowner's backyard.

The homeowner, concerned about recent thefts in the neighbourhood, took a baseball bat out with him to confront the teen and after an altercation, he chased Jessie down and attacked him with the bat — striking him repeatedly in the head.

Earlier this year, the homeowner was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Jessie was rushed to hospital where he underwent brain surgery and spent more than 10 months in a coma.

Jessie Simpson lives in a facility with 24 hour care following the 2016 attack. (Shelley Joyce/CBC)

The brain injury and a subsequent stroke have left Jessie cognitively impaired and confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home under 24-hour-a-day care.

"It's hard to accept, but you still see your little boy in there," said Sue, who is only now speaking publicly about Jessie and his injuries.

"You see certain things, but nothing what he was before."

Jessie now speaks in repetitive rhymes and likes to turn conversations toward the sports and activities he loves — rugby, hockey and dirt biking.

'He needs his mom'

Sue spends her time devoted to his care.

"It's tiring. I've lost my job through it all," she said. "But it's worth it to me to be with Jessie. He needs his mom."

Despite Jesse's brain injury, Sue's love and commitment are not lost on him.

"Isn't she beautiful," he remarks when asked about his mother. 

Sue mourns the life that she once hoped for her son — finding a partner and having children. 

Now she only wants a life for Jessie where he is happy and comfortable and eventually back living at home with her. She's currently fundraising to buy a specialized van, so that she can take him on outings.


Brady Strachan

CBC Reporter

Brady Strachan is a CBC reporter based in Kelowna, B.C. Besides Kelowna, Strachan has covered stories for CBC News in Winnipeg, Brandon, Vancouver and internationally. Follow his tweets @BradyStrachan

With files from Shelley Joyce


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