A SCOTS squaddie has been skewered through the brain by a branch in a horrific road accident – but is expected to make a miraculous recovery.
Colin Dodds, 19, from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders, was involved in the smash just two weeks after being deployed to Kenya, in east Africa.
The branch punched through the right side of his head and penetrated his brain, his father – also named Colin – revealed.
The young soldier – who serves with the 19th regiment of the Royal Artillery and appeared in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo last year – is expected to make a full recovery and will be returning to the UK on 21 February to undergo further surgery.
Colin Dodds snr said the whole family is in shock after hearing about his son’s injury thousands of miles away.
He said: “He was in the back of a vehicle chasing another vehicle in an exercise.
“A dust cloud got blown up and the driver went off the road into a wooded area.
“Colin was impaled when a branch went through the side of his head.
“The branch went into the right side of his brain.
“It was very serious and he is to get a plate put into his head.
“In the first few days after the surgery he could not co-ordinate, which was a big worry.
“He is stuttering now but his speech should come back.
“He has been extremely lucky and expected to fully recover.
“He will need more surgery at Birmingham on his return but due to the severity of his injury he will not be allowed home for two weeks.”
Mr Dodds, 46, said he and his wife Suzie, 42, were prepared to fly out to Kenya when they were informed of the accident by the Ministry of Defence last Monday.
He said: “All we had been told was that our son had been very seriously injured in Kenya.
“Nine hours later two soldiers came down to arrange to fly us out but because Colin started to make a full recovery it was downgraded – but we were ready to go out.”
Family eased by reports
The family, which includes sister Coleen, 26, and brother Liam, 15, say they have been given daily progress reports by the MoD.
Gunner Dodds joined the military when he was 16, and despite having only been deployed to Kenya two weeks before the incident, his dad said he “loved it”.
Mr Dodds, a general services supervisor at Borders General Hospital, said: “He spoke to his girlfriend Chamaine French (who is in the same regiment) a couple of hours before the accident and she said he was having a whale of a time.
“She was totally crushed by the news last week, as we all were, but there is now the realisation, that everything is going to be OK.
“He is a fighter. Even the army said you have some boy there.
“Despite the severity of the injury, he is determined to get himself better.
“We just want to get him home.
“Someone telling you how your child is doing is not the same as seeing him yourself.”
Mr Dodds said he expects the MoD to carry out an inquiry into the incident.
An army spokesman said: “I can confirm that a soldier from the 3 Rifles Battalion group training in Kenya was injured as a result of a road traffic accident while on exercise.
Love & support
Colin Dodd’s Facebook page has been altered by his friends to show support for their recovering friend. His Facebook profile name now reads as ‘Collin Pull-Through Dodds’.
Dodd’s father says: “He has now been discharged from hospital and will be flown home to the UK when his return flight has been arranged.”