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Payout for Black Country boxing champ who can't fight again after bleed on the brain

By Luke Bartlett | Dudley | Boxing | Published:

Darren McDermott suffered a bleed on the brain after a screening company failed to spot a potentially fatal brain aneurysm.

Darren McDermott, aged 39, from Dudley, has received a payout after a screening company failed to spot a brain aneurysm

He is a former professional boxing champion – but has faced one of his toughest battles outside of the ring.

Darren McDermott, aged 39, from Dudley, has received a substantial payout after a screening company failed to spot a potentially fatal brain aneurysm.

The rising star was sparring with former two-time world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly when the aneurysm ruptured.

WATCH Darren tell his story:

Black Country boxer given payout for missed brain aneurysm

Just five months before, the Black Country Bodysnatcher, was given the ‘all-clear’ and re-licensed to box, following his British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) mandated annual medical and MRI scan.

The aneurysm ruptured following a blow to Darren’s head.

He continued to feel unwell for almost a week before it was detected by specialists at Russells Hall Hospital.

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He was then taken for emergency surgery to stem a bleed on his brain at the Birmingham Queen Elizabeth hospital.

Darren with his wife Claire

The incident left the former British middleweight champion, who had won 17 of his 20 fights, needing specialist support and rehabilitation, and suffering short-term memory loss.

He was told shortly after surgery he would not be able to box again, something he described as ‘heartbreaking’.

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'Destroyed'

Darren said: “I can remember a woman coming back and saying I’m ever so sorry you have got a bleed on the brain.

“I said will I be able to box again? And she said I don’t think so, which was like having my arms and legs cut off.

“I was destroyed, it felt like the end of the world. I came home and lost my driving licence, lost my boxing licence, I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

“I was in a bad place. For me to retire because I thought I was too old or not good enough would have been acceptable.

“But for somebody to just take it away from me and tell me you can’t box anymore was just heartbreaking.

“I started drinking, smoking, just not being me.”

Lawyers

Following the incident in 2010 the father of two and his wife Claire wanted to investigate if the condition should have been detected earlier.

He instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether the pre-existing aneurysm should have been detected during routine testing.

InHealth Ltd was the company appointed by the BBBoC to manage the process of obtaining and checking all professional boxers’ MRI scans for re-licensing purposes.

It has agreed to pay the couple a substantial settlement after admitting liability for Darren’s injuries.

InHealth accepted its own Professional Boxers’ MRI protocol did not include certain types of additional scans – which should have been taken for all professional boxers.

It also accepted that, had the protocol included these additional scans, Darren’s aneurysm would likely have been detected, his licence revoked and his brain injury avoided.

The settlement money Darren received will help pay for his specialist support and rehabilitation.

Garden gym

Following the news that he would never be able to box again, Darren decided to open a gym – to start with training people in a set-up at the end of his garden.

He moved out to bigger premises in 2016. The Brooklands Amateur Boxing Club in Dudley is now open six nights a week.

Darren trains a host of young and old talent, including his two sons Kian, 13, and four-year-old Vinnie.

Darren said: “Claire could see the way I was going and decided to tell me to open a gym for the kids. She was trying to get me back into the boxing way of life and that mentality.

“I had a couple of local kids off the estate – one of the lads from Wolverhampton who used to watch me asked if he could bring his son. The gym is growing, it is at 90-plus now.

“People say to me how can you let your sons box after what happened to you, and I say to them boxing kept me on the right way. In life you can have two paths to take, you can take boxing or any sport, or sitting over the park with your mates drinking.

“For me I was lucky enough to be on the boxing one and was kept on the straight and narrow.”

InHealth Ltd was contacted for comment.

Luke Bartlett

By Luke Bartlett
Trainee Reporter - @lbartlett_star

Trainee Express & Star reporter covering Dudley and Sandwell. Get in touch on 01902 319445 or via luke.bartlett@expressandstar.co.uk.

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