Maddy's encephalitis struggle

10th May 2016



In September 2012, Maddy had just won his under 12 rugby league grand final with his team the Waratah Cheetahs. One month later Maddy was in Intensive Care at John Hunter Children's Hospital.

Maddy would spend the next three months in intensive care, diagnosed with a rare form of encephalitis, known as NMDA receptor Antibody Encephalitis. In all Maddy would be in hospital for eight months, requiring specific immunotherapy, along with anti-epileptic medications for seizures.

Maddy's environment required precise environmental management, he existed in a space that was quiet, dark and peaceful, often with relaxing music playing. This was due to the severe agitation and disorientation that accompanied his condition.

He required artifical feeding and muscle relaxing medications, due to abnormal muscular stiffness. His severe loss of coordination required intensive allied health therapy. 

Maddy's recovery was slow, with a gradual return to normal functions.

Four years on.....

Maddy is now attending school full-time and is in Year 11 (he was admitted to hospital in Year 7 and missed Year 8). He is back playing rugby league with his Waratah team and is celebrating his tenth season with the club.

In 2015 Maddy was an ambassador for Run Newcastle, where he completed the 6km course and raised awareness and funds for the Children's Hospital.

At the moment Maddy is working toward getting his licence. 

Maddy's rehabilitation is ongoing. He still has issues with short term memory and memory recall. He has adopted strategies to assist him to function as best he can on a day-to-day basis, like setting his alarm on his phone to remind him of something, printing out signs and placing them around the house. He also requests other family members to remind him of something that he believes he will forget, and most of all he understands he has this deficit and accepts help from others and doesn't let these deficits control his life.

Most of all Maddy has a loving and supportive family who will ensure he achieves all he can.

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