Knockdown is an address not a mind-set for writer John

John Cotter pictured at home in Knockdown, Cordal with copies  'King William Brown' which has just been published. ©Photograph: John Reidy
John Cotter pictured at home in Knockdown, Cordal with copies ‘King William Brown’ which has just been published. ©Photograph: John Reidy

A Knocknagoshel man who suffered a horrendous catalogue of injuries in a motorcycle accident almost 30 years ago has been fighting his way back every single day since.

John Cotter’s injury list included a cerebral contusion and he spent six weeks in a coma.

Now living in Knockdown, Cordal with his wife and family, John readily accedes to the reality that there are some injuries from which he will never recover. However,  this has not diminished his zest for a challenge.

One of the challenges he set himself has only recently been realised. John Cotter Jr. has just published a book that carries his name and notions.

King William Brown is the name of John’s fictional work and he looks at the newly delivered box of books on his dining room table with the satisfaction of a man on the summit of his achievement.

Rather than me asking him foolish questions about his challenges, history and ambitions I asked John to write about his situation from the accident to the arrival of his just published book. He obliged thus:

“My name is John Cotter Jr., and I come from Lower Knockbrack, Knocknagoshel, Co. Kerry.  I was born on the 19th of June 1967.

On the 7th of July 1985, I was in a major motor bike accident. I sustained serious injuries as a result of the accident.  My injuries included:

1.A head injury with a cerebral contusion and a residual right hemiparesis;

2.A closed, displaced fracture of the shaft of his right femur at the junction of the middle and lower thirds of the bone;

3.A compound, comminuted fracture of the middle thirds of the shaft of his right tibia and fibula;

4.A comminuted fracture of the index finger metacarpal bone, of his left hand;

5.A left sided pneumothorax.  I spent 6 weeks in a Coma between Cork University and Tralee General Hospital.  I was paralysed on the right side of my body for a further 3 weeks and could not speak.  My speech was also badly affected. I will never recover fully from the accident.  As a result of the accident I was unable to read and write due to the head injuries I sustained.

I met my wife in 1990 and we got married in 1993, had our first son in 1996 and our twins in 2003.  So I started tuition classes soon after my twins were born to prove that I could write the book that was in my head. Still though to this day I still struggle to read and write.

I wrote this book to prove to myself and others that I could do it.  For many years I wanted to write a book.  I got an idea into my head and started on the story in my head from that moment on.  I went home and started creating characters for the book, I wrote down my ideas on a copybook as much as I could due to writing difficulty.

My son opened up the laptop and I kept on typing even though my spelling was brutal.  When the book was complete my son corrected it and reviewed it many times and then my wife also reviewed the book.  I then got a teacher to look over it.  It took me four years to type the book.

I hope I can inspire others like me who think that because of a head injury you have received due to an accident does not stop people fulfilling their dreams.

I am now living in Knockdown, Cordal, Castleisland, Co. Kerry with my wife and three children.  I’m currently doing a culinary course in the National Learning Network in Tralee, Co. Kerry.”

John Cotter Jr. can be contacted on 087 678 9833.