Man lost half his skull from single punch and has to wear helmet to go outside

A man has been left with half his skull missing from a single punch – and now fears a knock to the head could kill him.

Braden Stromberg, 27, was placed in an induced coma with a bleed on the brain following the unprovoked assault on May 2 last year.

Despite the permanent impact it’s had on his life, Braden was shocked to hear his attacker Kyle Stephenson was jailed for less than two years, calling it ‘not long enough’.

He had been walking to the shops with his girlfriend when Stephenson attacked him from behind in Bolsover, Derbyshire.

The grounds worker was punched in the face and smashed his head on the road, leaving him unconscious.

He was rushed to hospital where doctors removed the right side of his skull in a desperate bid to save his life.

Braden came close to death and spent 15 days in the coma, before making a miraculous recovery.

But he now has to wear a helmet to shield his unprotected brain whenever he leaves the house.

Braden, from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, is awaiting further surgery to have a titanium skull fitted so he can return to work.

He said: ‘Every doctor I have spoken to has said how lucky I am to not have woken up from the coma paralysed or in a vegetated state.

‘They can’t believe it. There might be an inch of spinal fluid where my skull has been removed and then it’s just my brain unprotected.

‘If I knocked this it could potentially be fatal.’

He added: ‘I am able to talk and move around but the attack has had life-changing effects on me mentally, physically and emotionally.

‘I now have poor dexterity in my left eye and left hand. I can’t close my right eye and keep my left eye open, and I can’t grip things with my left hand.

‘I have dropped a lot of plates and bowls and I can’t type or play online games, but I have been told I should be able to slowly regain these functions.

‘My personality has altered slightly following the attack. I now don’t always have a filter between my brain and mouth so I can say things without thinking.’

Stephenson, from Ilkeston, Derbyshire, was arrested and charged with grievous bodily harm, which he later pleaded guilty to.

The 32-year-old was jailed for one year and 10-and-a-half months at Derby Crown Court earlier this month.

Braden added: ‘I am happy he is behind bars, but I don’t think the sentence he has been given is long enough.

‘In court, the fact that I survived the attack and Kyle giving a guilty plea were reasons his sentenced was reduced but I don’t think it should have been.

‘It was even said that if I had come out of the coma paralysed or in a vegetative state, the sentence he received would have probably been the same, which is crazy.

‘Everyone has been pretty traumatised by what happened, especially my mum and my ex-girlfriend.

‘In a way it’s kind of good that I lost my memory of the attack as it means my mental state hasn’t been too badly affected.’

Detective Investigator Sarah Price said: ‘The actions of Stephenson just go to prove how damaging a single punch can be with the victim incredibly lucky to have survived the ordeal.

‘What happened on that day in Bolsover has not only had a major impact on Braden’s life but also on those closest to him with his family suffering alongside him through the aftermath.

‘Stephenson will now have time to think about the consequences of his actions behind bars and I would urge anyone who finds themselves in that situation to take a step back and think about what could happen not only to themselves but also to the other person involved in the incident.’

Braden’s mother Louise has set up a fundraiser to help support her son.

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