A BOXING champion from Dudley who was forced to retire after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm has spoken of how the injury still affects him 10 years on.

Darren McDermott, nicknamed the Black Country Bodysnatcher, was sparring with former world light-heavyweight champion boxer Nathan Cleverly in August 2010 when an undetected aneurysm ruptured after a blow to the head.

He underwent emergency surgery to stem a bleed on his brain but sustained permanent brain damage leading to short-term memory loss and difficulties with aggression control.

Just five months before Darren had been given the ‘all clear’ and re-licensed to box following an annual medical and MRI.

Unbeknown to Darren, the scan showed an aneurysm on his brain, which should have led to his professional boxing licence being revoked.

Following his injury, Darren and his wife Claire instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate.

In 2018, they won a settlement for Darren, after InHealth Ltd, the company appointed by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) to manage the checking of professional boxer’s MRI scans for re-licensing purposes, admitted liability.

The settlement is helping Darren access the specialist support and rehabilitation he needs to live his life as best he can.

A decade on from his life-changing injury, Darren, 41, is supporting Action for Brain Injury Week.

This year’s campaign is focused on how memory loss can affect people like Darren following a brain injury.

Father-of-three Darren said: “It is hard to believe that my injury was more than a decade ago now, as it has had a lasting impact on me and my family, and I still struggle with everyday tasks.

“I have always said that Nathan is in no way to blame for what happened to me, as I shouldn’t have been allowed to continue fighting.

"Unfortunately I can’t turn back the clock and all I can do now is continue with my rehabilitation and hope that others don’t have to go through what I have.

“One of the main effects of my brain injury is my memory loss which can be incredibly frustrating at times, for example, when I forget where I have left my car or even what colour my toothbrush is.

"But it could have been worse so I feel lucky to be alive.

“My family are such a great support to me – I wouldn’t have got through this without them.

"With the support of my wife Claire and my family, we have all had to develop coping strategies for my memory loss as it isn’t ever going away. My memory loss is a daily struggle and, in order to stop it from ruling my life, we have put in place reminder systems and prompts to try and help ease the burden it has on my life.

“Action for Brain Injury Week is the perfect way for me to share my story in the hope that it will help others understand that not all injuries are visible, particularly those impacting the brain.

"There are a lot of brain injured people suffering in silence as they don’t know about the care and support out there.”

The couple have two sons, Kian, 15, and six-year-old Vinnie. Darren has also a daughter, Chloe, 22, from a previous relationship.

Darren, a former British middleweight champion, had won 17 of his 20 professional fights.

After his retirement, he set up the Brooklands Amateur Boxing Club in Dudley.

Darren’s symptoms mean he has had to take more of a back seat in the running of the club but still remains its figurehead.

The club is now run by seven coaches and supports more than 100 aspiring young amateur boxers from the local community as well as running fitness classes.

Due to Covid-19 the club has had to close, but Darren is hopeful it can survive despite the significant financial impact of the prolonged closure.

Action for Brain Injury Week runs from 28 September to 4 October.

Organised by the charity Headway this year’s campaign is Memory Loss: A Campaign to Remember.