A keen Ipswich Town fan who fell into a coma after contracting a life-threatening brain virus woke up after 14 weeks – and immediately said the name of her favourite football team.
Rachel Humphrey, 20, thought she was suffering from a cold or flu but was diagnosed with a dangerous virus on her brain after she began suffering seizures.
Doctors placed her into an induced coma and dropped her body temperature to 33 degrees in an attempt to manage the symptoms of the mystery condition.
Rachel’s worried parents Kim and Peter maintained a 24-hour vigil by her bedside for 14 weeks praying that their daughter would wake up.
They were stunned when she eventually began moving, opened her eyes and spoke the words: “Ipswich Town”.
Student Rachel, from Wisbech, Cambs., believes that her “love” of the football club led to her bizarre first words.
She said: “I think I just said what I did because I love Ipswich Town FC. Ipswich has been part of my life ever since I was little.
“I must have been dreaming about football while I was in the coma.
”They are my passion and it was so good to be back watching them play. I want to go to every game again.
“It was a great day and I really enjoyed it. It was important to me and made me feel better and made me smile a lot.
“I am really pleased to be home. All my uni friends have been really good at keeping in contact. One of the first things I could do again was use my phone.”
Rachel thought she had a flu and returned home from De Montfort University in December 2009, but collapsed and was rushed to hospital.
Medical staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, couldn’t stop the seizures and moved her to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambs.
Doctors carried out several tests and even sent samples to Philadelphia and Germany to find a diagnosis, but still could not name her mystery illness.
She was induced into a coma just before Christmas day 2009 but gradually began to wake up on April 1 last year.
When she regained her speech she immediately uttered the words ”Ipswich town” before returning home from hospital in February this year.
Her mother Kim, 52, and architect father Peter lived at the hospital for five months supporting Rachel.
She said: “Rachel was a healthy girl, having a great time at university. She thought she had flu, but then started getting seizures.
“They still don’t know exactly what is wrong with her.
“It took months for her to come round from the coma. Her first words when she woke up were ‘Ipswich Town’. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but was so pleased it was her.
“And then it was the first thing she wrote when she could use a pen again.
“We all support Ipswich Town. Rachel has grown up supporting the team and it is a big part of her life.”
Rachel has made a good recovery but still suffers from short-term memory loss and medics are awaiting the results of further tests.
She watched her beloved Blues defeat Sheffield United 3-0 on February 5 and met all of the Ipswich Town FC players.