Daniel Freear: nominated in the Inner Strength category in The Student Room's Student in a Million awards 2014


One week into the first term of Daniel's GCSEs he had a serious accident and was airlifted to Leeds hospital, requiring an operation on his back. His spinal cord was severed and he was paralysed from the chest downwards. The recovery from his injuries cost Daniel the whole of year 10, but he decided not to retake the year but instead to complete year 10 and 11 in one year. Daniel has been nominated for our Student in a Million inner strength award.

After Daniel was injured he spent the next six months in Sheffield Northern General Hospital Spinal Unit. He was by far the youngest on the ward, though he got on well with everyone. His biggest fear was losing touch with all his friends, but they visited regularly and have been fantastic with their friendship and support.


Dan had a lot to learn and re-learn during his rehabilitation, but he has coped remarkably well on every level. Dan started weekend visits home in February 2013, returning home full-time March 2013, and started back at school on a phased basis from May, after adjustments to the premises.

While in hospital, alongside his rehabilitation, he had done some work with tutors, and on returning home he had a home tutor for two hours a week, but this did little to tackle the work he'd missed during the nine months away.

He was offered the option of staying back a year, restarting year 10, but he chose to stay with his year group, and his friends - in effect rejoining in year 11, doing two year's work in one, to take GCSEs with his contemporaries.

He worked hard, caught up, and in summer 2014 sat GCSE exams in maths, English, three sciences, history, ICT and graphics.

Dan has always been very active and interested in sport; in addition to his studies, he has taken up wheelchair basketball with the Leeds Spiders, training one evening per week and playing in matches at weekends, also recently starting wheelchair rugby at Morley Leisure Centre.

Dan has a mature, philosophical approach to life which helped him learn to manage and find ways around any difficulties. His Head of Year report stated that “he truly is the most inspirational young man I have ever come across during my teaching career. His positive attitude and constant smile are testament to what a strong and remarkable person he is.

"I do not have enough words to write what I think about this young man and the positive impact he has had on our year group and school. His truly inspiring attitude and willingness to succeed is something that I will remember long after Daniel has gone.”


Daniel is looking forward to his A-levels and hopes to study maths, history, physics and computer studies. He is dedicated to studying computer science at university.