IT WAS just another training session for Mick Donnellan until things took a turn for the worse on December 13.
After a punch to the face during training, which triggered a stroke, the 25-year-old jiu jitsu fighter was flown down to Brisbane and kept in the intensive care unit where he underwent surgery.
It was during preparations for surgery when doctors discovered the Rockhampton man had a brain aneurysm, which had been causing him problems for the past year.
Mick now wants something good to come out of what has been one of the worst experiences of his life by raising awareness for brain aneurysms and strokes in young people.
Mick's partner Chloe Lewis has been by his side at the hospital and said Mick had been having problems with headaches for the past year.
"Before all of this he was his usual active self, had a very busy schedule and was his regular fit self, he just had these headaches but that didn't slow him down a bit," Chloe said. "He's had a problem with persisting headaches all year and just thought it was nothing and it was only when he suffered the punch to his face that it really triggered something and he went downhill."
Chloe said she always knew something else was going on but Mick refused to see a doctor.
"It wasn't until Mick had the stroke that they finally decided to do a CT scan and that's how they found the aneurysm," Chloe said.
"The doctors said they never would have thought it could be a brain aneurysm because he is so young and healthy."
Chloe said the doctors never confirmed the brain aneurysm was caused directly from the hit at jiu jitsu and it was most likely a pre-existing issue that was triggered by the accident.
"A lot of people keep referring to all this as an accident but the doctors never said this was caused directly from getting hit," she said.
The Rockhampton woman said Mick was improving and had been moved out of the ICU and into the neurosurgical ward.
"He is starting rehabilitation soon and has regained a little movement in his left hand, has all tubes removed and is now on a normal diet," Chloe said.
Mick said apart from being a type one diabetic, he was extremely healthy and athletic.
"I want to raise awareness because I had a problem with persisting headaches all year and just thought it was nothing," Mick said.
"I want people to be aware if they're suffering something similar to make sure they get it checked.
"Go get checked, you'll only be losing about 20 minutes of your day and it could save your life. You'll only gain knowledge, you have nothing to lose."
Chloe encouraged people not to ignore their symptoms because not getting treatment could be even scarier then whatever might be going on.
Chloe said herself and Mick's family had received overwhelming amounts of support.
"We've been lucky to have someone as positive as Mick in our lives as his positivity has rubbed off a bit. It has been awful but we're just so lucky they caught it in time," she said.
When Mick was asked how he was dealing with his situation, he cheekily answered, "With a smile on my face and a positive attitude."
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