A former rugby star who suffered serious brain injuries after falling 10m from a seaside promenade says he has gone from “just surviving” to “living and enjoying life” five years on from the accident.

Noah Rees suffered multiple injuries including fracturing his skull and severing an artery when he fell from the Brighton promenade in 2019.

Now, after years of tireless work and recovery, Noah says he wants to continue proving people wrong by continuing to improve – and has set his sights on competing in the Paralympics.

Noah, 23, from Peacehaven, said: “I honestly think that rugby saved my life. If I wasn’t training to be a professional rugby player before then I wouldn’t have been so physically fit and healthy.

The Argus: Noah shortly after the accident in 2019Noah shortly after the accident in 2019 (Image: Family Handout)

“At the beginning it was like the saying ‘the lights are on but no one was in’ – I was just surviving. Now I feel like I’m living and enjoying life a lot more.

“Five years ago I was sitting in my hospital bed asking myself what quality of life I wanted and that wasn’t it at all.

“I’ve been working and working and now I can safely say I’m happy. A big gold medal around my neck would definitely help though.”

The Argus: Noah in hospital after the accidentNoah in hospital after the accident (Image: Family Handout)

On May 11, 2019, Noah fell 10m from Brighton seafront promenade near the Fortune of War pub.

Noah spent time in a coma after suffering serious brain injuries. He had aspirations of becoming a professional rugby player having captained Cardinal Newman school to a National Championship and played for Hove Rugby Club.

Shortly after the accident, Noah spent the first part of his recovery in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He described the experience as “like a prison” and “the worst time of my life”.

The Argus: The seafront promenade where Noah fell fromThe seafront promenade where Noah fell from (Image: Family Handout)

Five years on, Noah has channelled his love of sports and his competitiveness into his recovery and has his eyes set on competing for Paralympics GB at the 2028 games in Los Angeles.

He said: “Every person and doctor said I had no chance but they can’t measure personality and their stubbornness.

“I always took what the doctors said with a pinch of salt and saw it as a challenge. I took what they said and thought: ‘I’m going to prove you wrong’.

The Argus: Noah on an adapted bikeNoah on an adapted bike (Image: Family Handout)

“I think it's hugely important to keep pushing, no one else is going to do it for you.

“If I get to LA it will be the best thing. Making that will be the cherry on top of the recovery.”

Currently Noah is training for shot put, discus and cycling and will be heading to Denmark in the summer for a training camp in frame running.

Alongside his normal recovery work, Noah trains multiple times a week and is aiming to make the Paralympic GB team for the next games after Paris this year.

Outside of sports, Noah says he is continuing to make big strides in regaining his independence and documents his progress on Instagram.

From being in a wheelchair immediately after the accident, he can now walk on crutches and has begun driving lessons.

The Argus: Noah playing rugby for Cardinal Newman before the accidentNoah playing rugby for Cardinal Newman before the accident (Image: Family Handout)

He credits his family for helping him to continue pushing him towards his goals, adding: “I’m quite a boundary-pushing person, I think my parents would agree.

“I really could not have made the same progress that I have without my family.

“My dad comes with me to train and helps set up the chair. We brainstorm and work out what I need to do.”

Mum Anna, 59, added: “When you have something so traumatic it can go one of two ways, for our family we all drew together.

“From the moment his eye opened when he was coming out of the coma I knew he was in there.

“I recently found a picture of what he looked like five years ago, he couldn’t talk and was being fed by a tube in his stomach.

“He has worked so tirelessly from not being able to do anything to look after himself.

The Argus: Noah after his first driving lessonNoah after his first driving lesson (Image: Family Handout)

“I’m so proud of what he is on the way to achieving with his determination and his drive.

“I really, really want him to make the Paralympics. To get to that from where he came from would be fantastic.”

Ahead of the next steps in his recovery, Noah and his family are now fundraising to raise money to help support his journey.

An initial fundraiser five years ago raised thousands and that money supported Noah through all of his recovery to date.