Jacek Furmański

At the age of 21 I sustained head injury without any visible external signs. After two days that I spent at home with headaches, photophobia, and constant vomiting, my parents took me to the hospital. The doctor took my history and ordered lumbar puncture. It turned out there was blood in the cerebrospinal fluid. A CT scan was performed, which revealed fractured occiput, brainstem contusion, and three hematomas in both frontal lobes. I was immediately taken to the neurology department where my condition had to be closely monitored. I do not remember anything from the first two weeks of my hospitalization.

When I finally regained consciousness, it turned out that I had right predominant quadriplegia, I had lost the sense of taste and smell, and had 60% encephalopathy, which in future could result in personality disorder, both emotional and cognitive. During my stay at the hospital, I suffered from bacterial meningitis and scarlet fever. Altogether, I spent 2 months at the hospital, and six weeks later I was certified with group 2 disability, which in my case meant that any type of work was contraindicated and I required the assistance of a caregiver. So, at the age of 21 I started a new life. But I was lucky to have met Roman Olejniczak along the way who took care of me. He encouraged me to start training GO JU RYU karate to improve my mobility and overcome problems related to the paresis. I met wonderful people there, including Sensei Krzysztof Włodarczyk (then, 2nd Dan), and Sensei Wojtek Szymański (1st Dan). I trained under their supervision 6 days a week, 2 hours a day, and then some more at home. After 8 years of training, during a seminar in Szczecin, I took my first master exam (1st Dan) before international judges, including Sensei Fujiwara (8th Dan), the Japanese kumite GO JU RYU team coach, Sensei Leo Lipiński (then, 7th Dan), the president of the European Seiwa Kai Federation, Sensei Rasto Mraz (then, 4th Dan), and Sensei Paul Colman (then, 4th Dan). I passed the exam and could start wearing the black belt. Today, I am 48 and I would like to set an example for other people to help them believe that no matter how hard their situation is now, they must remember that THEY ARE CAPABLE OF ANYTHING AS LONG AS THEY KEEP TRYING! So, CHEER UP!, because as long as you are fighting you will always be the winner.