Judo star smiles for first time after waking from coma


A British judo star critically injured in motorbike accident in Vietnam has smiled for the first time since waking from her coma as she prepares to fly home.

The UK air ambulance preparing to take Commonwealth Games medallist Stephanie Inglis to hospital in Scotland has arrived at her medical facility in Bangkok. 

A spokeswoman for the family said on Saturday night that Ms Inglis has improved so much that her parents, Robert and Alison, could explain to her she was going home and the 27-year-old astounded doctors by smiling.

In a statement on the Save Steph Facebook page, the spokeswoman said: "She is in so much discomfort and fighting against all the odds to improve herself when the medical team asked her if she could hold up two fingers, Stephanie did, and then she smiled a small but amazing smile.

"The doctor was so surprised he started to bow and laugh, because not only did it show that Stephanie understood this instruction it also showed after all that's happened to her she still had the humour and friendly personality that everyone respects and loves."

She added that Stephanie and her family, who are from Inverness, hope to be on their way in under 24 hours, saying: "This is a difficult journey which will stop in India, Georgia and Austria and then its final stage Stephanie Inglis against all the odds will be home."

She thanked the thousands of supporters who have donated more than £300,000 to pay for medical care for the Glasgow 2014 silver medallist, saying without the money it would have been impossible get her treatment, transfer her to hospital in Bangkok and bring her back to Scotland.

Ms Inglis' childhood friend and fellow judo competitor Khalid Gehlan set up a fundraising campaign after the sport star's travel insurance had been deemed invalid and her medical bills were £2,000 a day following the accident on May 12.

She suffered head injuries when her skirt caught in the wheel of a motorcycle taxi and pulled her off the bike, on her way to work teaching English in Ha Long.

Doctors in Vietnam initially gave her a 1% chance of survival, but she emerged from a medically-induced coma within the last week.