One punch left me fighting for my life


In 2012, I was attacked without provocation.

One punch sent me falling back in a pub toilet. When my head hit the tiled floor, it was likened to two snooker balls smashing together. I subsequently suffered a frontal lobe injury that blew my life to pieces on every level you can imagine. One punch left me fighting for my life and facing years of neuro rehabilitation. I was told I would never be the same person ever again!

During my recovery I struggled to adjust and come to terms with being different. I lost part of my identity, and my thinking abilities were damaged. The injury impacted everyone and everything in my life in such a negative way. I lost my job as an electrical engineer, was unable to drive for two years and my relationships faltered. Ultimately, I spiralled into depression.

I wouldn’t wish those two years of recovery on anybody. Everyday brought its challenges. Its torments and frustrations. It was torture!

I knew that work needed to be done to raise awareness about the devastation of one punch incidents, so in around 2015 I began dedicating time to doing just this!

Over the years I have campaigned to prevent lives from being ruined from one punch assaults. I’ve done this by sharing my ‘One Punch Ruins Lives’ story online, on stage in primary/secondary schools, universities and a range of other businesses and organisations including P.A.U.L For Brain Recovery, One Punch UK and One Punch Hull. Click here to find out more – Paul Spence Teams up With Akester family to Deliver ‘One Punch’ Talks – Sewell Construction.

I have presented to inmates from HMP Humber and currently work with Hull and East Riding Youth Justice, presenting to individuals and groups of young people within their services.

Feedback from young people


‘It was a great talk. I have learned to think before my actions because actions can ruin people’s lives’

‘Very good talk. I will think about this talk when I go out’

’Paul’s story has showed me that fighting is not the answer and can ruin someone’s life’

Feedback from practitioners


‘Really good and insightful. It was insightful for the young people and for myself! Very educational, it was a great session’

‘Great talk from Paul. Hearing from his lived experience is powerful. It really hits home’

‘Really engaging talk on the child’s level. It was easy to follow and understand. Very good’

I am involved with the Safer Nights Scheme working in partnership with The Humber Violence Prevention Partnership.

As well as the presentations I deliver, I’ve developed some ‘One Punch Ruins Lives’ booklets. They’ve been created to be a useful resource in the education sector, criminal justice system and anywhere else the important message needs to heard.

I’ve made it a mission to prevent lives from being ruined. Sharing insights from lived experiences is powerful. Providing education about emotional intelligence and the importance of coping strategies is key. I aim to stop mindless violence and save lives.

I encourage people to remember that actions have consequences and ask themselves this question in a moment of madness –

‘Do I want to be responsible for causing brain damage or death?’

I hope the answer will be no! Therefore, walk away. Save your life and others from being ruined.

To find out more, you can download my ‘One Punch Ruins Lives’ poster

2023 interview raising awareness of ‘One Punch Ruins Lives’ with Peter Levy on BBC Look North.