Kanata 5 cyclist making remarkable progress down road to recovery

Nearly eight years after suffering a severe brain injury when a van plowed into a group of cyclists riding along March Road in Kanata, Robert Wein says he's almost fully recovered, and ready to ride again.

Robert Wein suffered serious brain injury in July 2009 crash

Robert Wein celebrates crossing the finish line at the 2015 Brain Injury Awareness Walk. (Facebook)

Nearly eight years after suffering a severe brain injury when a van plowed into a group of cyclists riding along March Road in Kanata, Robert Wein says he's almost fully recovered, and ready to ride again. 

It was July 19, 2009. Wein was out cycling that clear Sunday morning with his partner Cathy Anderson and three of their friends when they were struck from behind.

The driver fled the scene.

In October 2011, a jury convicted Sommit Luangpakham on 10 charges of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and leaving the scene of an accident. He received a two-year sentence.

It was very, very hard. I felt useless.- Robert Wein

Wein was the most seriously injured of the five cyclists involved in the collision. Doctors gave him a 50 per cent chance of surviving and told him he would never walk or cycle again.

But now, as the eighth anniversary of the crash approaches, Wein has almost fully regained his speech and is out cycling again on a recumbent bike.

He walks with the aid of a walker, and still has some trouble speaking. 

"I have my speech issue, I have to focus and speak slowly," he said, adding that words come to him quickly, but he's still unable to enunciate as well as he'd like.
After being told by doctors he'd probably never ride again, Robert Wein began using a recumbent bicycle about four years after he was injured. (Facebook)

No memory of crash

There's one thing he hasn't regained: any memory of the crash itself.

"I have no memory of anything from the month before to about six months after. I see pictures and it doesn't prompt anything at all," he said. 

He said he felt judged by people during the most vulnerable moments of his recovery. 

"It was very, very hard. I felt useless," he said. "It was my self-perception that I was being judged"

Wein added that one of the most important things people can do to help someone recovering from a brain injury is to accept them.

"If you see someone do something and you think it's weird, please ask, 'Can I help you?'"

This Saturday is the sixth annual Brain Injury Awareness Walk, an event Wein started during his recovery. Money raised will be donated to the centre that helped Wein recover from his brain injury through the Pathways Community Access Fund.
Robert Wein crosses the finish line at the 2016 Brain Injury Awareness Walk. (Facebook)