An amateur boxer has said her “life is in tatters” after a bout left her critically ill in an induced coma.
Sarah McParland, 31, had a brain haemorrhage which resulted in a stroke after a punch to the head during a white collar boxing match.
Describing the fight at a four star London hotel, Sarah said: “I remember I was winning until the third round, then I became unwell.
“I was feeling dizzy and unable to react.
“I got hit on the left-hand side of my head.
“It was like being hit by a brick. It felt like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”
Sarah — who took up boxing in 2017 to keep fit — then collapsed in the changing room after the fight was stopped due to a cut above her eye.
Luckily for Sarah, a friend who was also a nurse was on hand and called for an ambulance.
“I walked back to the changing room feeling disorientated, then I collapsed,” Sarah said.
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"I can’t remember anything after that.”
Sarah was put in an induced coma and her family was told she might not make it.
“After the fight I had a haemorrhage bleed on the brain which resulted in a stroke,” she told the Sunday People.
“I needed a craniotomy [removal of part the skull] to remove the blood clot.
“I was in an induced coma for three days.
“My mum and brother travelled down to the hospital and the doctors told them if I’d been hit one more time that could have been it.
“Because my opponent was taller than me the punches were all coming down and hitting me around the same place on top of the head.
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“The result is now I’ve lost part of my vision on my right side and I always feel fatigued.
“I’ll also need another operation to repair a dent in my skull.”
Brighton and Sussex Hospital surgeons had drilled into Sarah’s skull to relieve the pressure on her brain.
She said: “When they woke me up I couldn’t remember what had happened.
“I was in bed covered in bandages and tubes and my hair had been shaved with staples in my head.
“Gradually my memory started to come back.
“My mum told me the doctors had said one more punch and I could have been dead. They told her they weren’t sure I’d come back.”
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Sarah used to work as a maths teacher in London, but since her brain in jury she hasn’t been able to return to work.
She has now moved back to Liverpool to be cared for by her mum.
The former fitness fanatic now wants to warn others that they “need to be wary of what they’re getting into”.
Discussing amateur boxing, she said: “It can be dangerous and needs to be properly regulated.
“I don’t blame my opponent, she was there for the sport just like me. I can’t return to the gym and I can’t return to the classroom at the moment.
“I’ve got a long recovery ahead of me. My life is in tatters but hopefully I will get it back.”
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