Glimpses of the old Ryan Ball give his family hope as he fights back from the critical head injuries as a result of an attack outside his Padbury home almost a month ago.
Unsure the 38-year-old would even survive as he lay in a coma for two weeks in Royal Perth Hospital, his brother Leon and their mother Maureen believe the improvements Mr Ball has shown in the past few days are encouraging.
“He’s such a lucky boy that it’s not death,” Mrs Ball said outside hospital yesterday. “We’ve still got him, that’s the main thing.
“We’re just going day-by-day but something good is coming most days now. He’s coming back, I know.”
Mr Ball, 38, was hosting a party for a friend’s teenage daughter on February 25 when he was allegedly assaulted while trying to disperse a fight between gatecrashers.
He is now able to communicate with relatives, has taken his first steps with assistance and doctors have removed a tube from his throat.
After the pipe from the tracheotomy was taken out yesterday, he told his family: “I just want to sleep in my own bed and eat what I want to eat.”
But while the signs are positive, the family knows they have a long road ahead.
Concerns about Mr Ball’s head injury have temporarily taken a back seat as doctors treat potentially life-threatening conditions he has developed in hospital.
He is battling his second bout of pneumonia, has deep vein thrombosis and has lost more than 30kg.
Mr Ball does not understand why he cannot go home but his brother said he was awake and coherent for only a couple of hours a day, had severe headaches and short-term memory loss.
“One minute we have my brother and the next minute … we have a different guy,” Leon Ball said.
“That’s the symptoms that are going to come with the head trauma. But to us to even have glimpses of Ryan have been a blessing.”
Eventually, the Ball family hope to visit schools to educate young children about the far-reaching impacts of violence, believing it is too late when they are teenagers.
“Ryan is suffering the most but the whole family is suffering because of it and the friends of the family who are trying to help us as much as we can,” Mrs Ball said. “It’s devastating and all these other people before us who have suffered with this. It’s just never-ending.”
The stress is evident on the family, with Leon Ball spending time in hospital last week for kidney stones.
“I was split between them, going from one son to the other,” Mrs Ball said. “It’s been a bad time.”
The incident has also taken a financial toll, with the family trying to get legal approval to manage Mr Ball’s affairs.
“We now have to start worrying about his finances and keeping on top of his mortgage,” Leon Ball said. “He’s going to be in no condition to do any of that for a long time from what the doctors have told us.”
Kaide Travis Maslin, the 18-year-old accused of causing Mr Ball grievous bodily harm, is expected in court again on Friday for a bail bid.
At a hearing last week, Mr Maslin’s lawyer claimed his client “struck” Mr Ball after he threatened to hit him and tried to head-butt him. The teen is also accused of breaking the jaw of another party-goer.
Mrs Ball said the family was focused on helping her son and trusted the legal system to deal with his alleged attacker.
A fundraising account to help the Ball family with costs can be found at gofundme.com/ryans-fight-for-his-life