Change a law for Head Trauma
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Head Trauma needs to be told to your immediate family when it happens.
In memory and honor of our son
Cory Thomas lee
24-February-1996 to 1st April 2018
I am going to start at the end of Cory’s Life on the 1st of April he took his life while camping with 4 of his best mates. On the night Cory past away, we got a knock at the door telling us that Cory had hanged himself and he had a heartbeat. All I thought was that we have a chance and we drove to my parent’s (mum’s) house to let them know what was going on. We waited we couldn’t go to him he was more than 3 hours away. But all hope was gone, when we got a knock at the door from a police officer telling us he was no longer with us. In that 10-minute conversation the police officer questioned “was Cory suicidal? “The only thing that came to our minds was a night Cory was upset 4 years prior and he had lost his job and drank too much (Was he suicidal? I say no Was he sad? yes) but who hasn’t been sad or depressed in their life? We lost our boy at 22 years old.
I need to tell this story for Cory because I don’t agree with the Coroner’s finding saying we didn’t need an inquest into his death, as it is likely not to happen to anyone else. How can they come to that decision when every 40 seconds a person takes their life? Do they actually want to try and stop this from happening again or is it they just don’t care?
Cory was a happy kid all his life and he would be there for any of his family and friends and even strangers. Cory’s great love was playing footy with his mates and he was still playing before he died. Cory worked hard all his life doing manual labouring for most of his jobs concreting, scaffolding and working on a turf farm doing long hours.
He went out with mates one night in the city night clubbing having fun like any other young person. It was October 2017 when a fight started at the club (Club name withheld for legal reasons), but Cory was not part of the fight. He decided to record what was happening on his phone because the police were there, and it was getting out of control. He noticed a person lying on the ground and went to help this person up to see if they were alright. In that moment Cory’s life changed when he was hit by a police officer and arrested (witness name withheld). (His charges were for being a public nuisance and resisting arrest). He was taken to the police station and stripped naked and put in a jail cell naked. (The law states that the police must protect your self-respect during the search. A police officer of the same sex should conduct the strip search. They must allow you to be remain partly clothed while conducting the search – for example allowing you to keep your pants on while your chest is bare and your shirt on while your pants or skirt are off.) I was told Cory was fully naked and he asked for his clothes back only to be told “that’s not how you speak to an officer of the law, they also broke his phone and deleted everything he recorded. What were they trying to hide? I tried to access the police reports and footage from that night. There is a 10-minute body worn camera footage, I was told it was too traumatic for me to watch and they have to protect the privacy of the other people in the video. I am still in the process of finding out if he got any medical care that night. I am not sure what time Cory got home that night/morning but when I seen him come out of his room in the morning, I remember calling to my husband sayings “Cory’s home” we didn’t hear him get home or know he was home. He went back to bed I thought he was hungover. Nothing alarmed us at this time that something was wrong. Cory did not tell us anything about what happened to him that night. He only told a few of his close friends who also did not tell us. We found out after he passed away. He hid his injury under his hat.
He had swelling right across his forehead.
In his messages on his phone he said he was going to a family department to put in a complaint about the bouncer and police officer. My son went through a traumatic experience but did not get any support. All that should have happened is a phone call telling us to pick him up. I believe Cory would still be here if we were told. There were a few things in the next six months of Cory’s life we would have noticed more if we were told about the traumatic hit on his head.
See a hit to the head can heal in time but it’s what follow’s once it’s healed.
- General Symptoms of Concussion
Headaches or neck pain that do not go away
Difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions
Slowness in thinking, speaking, acting, or reading
Getting lost or easily confused
Feeling tired all of the time, having no energy or motivation
Mood changes (feeling sad or angry for no reason)
Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping a lot more or having a hard time sleeping)
Light-headedness, dizziness, or loss of balance
Urge to vomit (nausea)
Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds, or distractions
Blurred vision or eyes that tire easily
Loss of sense of smell or taste
Ringing in the ears
He needed to be on some sought of medication to help him through this battle and he needed the support from his family and friends. He tried to continue working on the turf farm, but the long hours were getting too much for him. He bought a new car a four-wheel drive and found a new job working at Volvo. He moved out of home and moved in with his best mate. He started playing footy again thinking he was ok again. What he didn’t know is that the worst thing he could have done concussion on concussion is not good for the brain. This also could have been prevented. Any person playing contact sports should have to go through a medical before starting to play and a knock to the head while playing should be taken more seriously. On the 17th of March my son played a game of footy and he left a message with his football mate saying that the players were rough, and his head was killing him. I saw my son on the 23rd of March for my birthday and he seemed alright, but I didn’t know the whole story. He thought he was losing all his friends and he was a bad friend. But if he had seen how many turned up to his funeral, he would have realized he had friends and family everywhere but that’s how this trauma changed him. For the first time Cory went away for Easter away from his immediate family, camping with friends and I text a message to the group when a photo was posted on Facebook of their setup “Happy Easter guys be safe”. Never did I think this was going to happen. It could have been prevented. I ask the police officers on the night of Cory’s arrest “would you treat your son or child like this?” You are Sworn in to protect and serve how did you protect my son? You say every time one of your officers is hurt it is plastered all over the news that he is one of ours. Well guess what Cory was one of ours. He was never arrested before, he didn’t roam the streets when he was growing up, he would always offer a helping hand. You need to stop treating all the young people out there like they are all the same. If I did this to a person and they took their life six months later, I wouldn’t be proud of my conduct.
Mental illness you can’t see it, so we need to do more to support people who go through trauma.
HOW COME ITS OK FOR A POLICE OFFICER TO TELL YOU YOUR LOVED ONE IS DEAD, BUT NOT INJURED?
I didn’t have to tell everybody about Cory’s Story because he is already gone it’s too late for him but if your family member went out and this happened would you want to know straight away? Because your children don’t always tell you things they should.
I would like to leave a legacy in Cory’s name to Change the law about head trauma no matter what age you are a person’s immediate family need to know. Please sign my petition to get the law changed.
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