A Hibs fan who had a stroke has told how he shocked nurses by uttering his first words in four months - mocking rival club Hearts.
Darren Thomson, 22, lost all feeling in the left side of his body just 15 minutes after he developed a blinding headache.
The Hibs fan was rushed to hospital where scans revealed he had suffered a stroke and had a bleed on the brain caused by a blood clot the size of a 10p coin.
He had two operations to help drain the excess fluid in his brain, but he still couldn’t speak for three months due to a tube down his throat then brain damage.
Darren heard his nurses talking about how they supported rival team Hearts - and shocked them by blurting out his first words: “Hearts are s***e”.
And five months since his first words the young man’s speech is getting better every day.
He’s still in a wheelchair but hoping to be on his feet to be his dad’s best man at his wedding later this year.
Darren said: “It was so scary not being able to speak.
“It’s so hard to put into words what it’s like not being able to speak.
“I was so confused, I didn’t even know what was happening or anything.
“But when I had a Hearts doctor looking after me, someone had said ‘what’s Hearts’ and I just said ‘Hearts are s***e’.
“It just came to me, I was so happy that I spoke out, everyone laughed.
“It felt so good to just hear my own voice again.”
Darren was at home on June 5 last year watching YouTube videos with his friend when he started to feel a headache at the back and right side of his head.
The Hibs fan thought nothing of it until minutes later when he couldn’t feel the left side of his body.
His friend, Michael Alison, 21, lifted up Darren’s left arm but when he let it go it fell to his side.
He called Darren’s dad Phil, 55, who rushed to the scene and took Darren to Borders General Hospital where medics discovered he had suffered a stroke and had severe bleeding in his brain.
He was transferred to the Edinburgh Western General were medics drained the cerebrospinal fluid - a clear and colourless body fluid found in the brain and spinal cord.
Phil, from Galashiels, Scottish Borders, said medics did not think “he would make it”.
He said: “His face had not dropped and he didn’t have slurred speech.
“I was just confused about what was actually happening because he was also struggling to stand up.
“That’s why I ended up taking him to the local hospital.
“But when he was finally rushed to the Edinburgh Western General Hospital no one knew if he would make it and even medics didn’t have faith in the operation going well.
“It was so frightening to hear all of these negative thoughts.”
After the operation, Darren was put into intensive care with a life support machine for around 12 weeks.
He was taken off life support but needed a second operation to fix the tubes in his brain that would help his body drain the excess fluid naturally.
This is because if the fluid builds up in the brain it could put pressure on the brain, which can damage it.
He went under the knife again in August and a few weeks after the operation the tube running down his throat was removed.
But he still couldn’t speak due to the brain damage.
He was then transferred to the stroke ward at the Borders General Hospital in October.
This is where Darren shocked nurses when he said his first words after the two operations.
Phil explained: “He made a funny comment about how terrible Hearts were.
“This was because most of the nurses there were all Hearts fans.
“We all couldn’t believe it, I just laughed.”
He was there for five weeks before he returned home in early December last year.
Darren uses a wheelchair and requires a carer 24/7, but said he remains positive due to his dad’s support.
Darren said: “My dad’s been unreal. I just think if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here today.
“I thank him so much for everything he has done”.
Phil, who is Darren’s full-time carer, said his son hopes he will be able to walk again for his wedding on June 15.
He said: “It’s difficult being a full-time carer but I’m a positive person.
“He does get frustrated when he can’t go out and see his friends but his brilliant, he doesn’t get down.
“He wants to stand at my wedding so we’ll see.”