'I feel as a young Maori male this is an opportunity to speak to others ' - Boy actor James Rolleston speaks about recovery from crash that nearly killed him

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Sunday

I don't recall anything that happened that night, but I believe what happened… I made a decision to get behind the wheel of my car and I drove dangerously.

The Boy actor has spoken candidly with TVNZ 1's Sunday programme about the crash, his recovery, and resulting documentary.
Source: Sunday

Now I'm living with the consequence…a brain injury that's affected my speech, movements, memory and emotions, and I must live with the fact I nearly killed my mate.

Most of us never think a car accident will happen to us. I never thought it would happen to me. I was on top of the world…invincible, and on my way to Hollywood.

This experience of being a young man, making choices, having an accident that put my life and future at risk needs to be shared.

Nothing happens without reason, and I feel as a young Maori male this is an opportunity to speak to others about their choices.

When the documentary crew started filming me, I felt worried and embarrassed about the public seeing me in a mess.

But I started to realise my journey could help others. I slowly got over the fear and embarrassment.

I remember waking up from my coma barely able to move or talk and thinking 'this is me for the rest of my life, my recovery has stopped'.

I thought I'd always need support, a wheelchair and a team of people to help me. When I got to ABI Rehabilitation, (a brain rehabilitation centre in West Auckland) I started doing more for myself and began to get hope things would get better.

Making this documentary was so different from any film I had ever done.

It's my life and I am not acting! The big thing was how personal this documentary needed to be.

I had to get over the fear of sharing so much and get over the embarrassment of how people would view me.

The Boy star told TVNZ1's Sunday show he was helped through the ordeal by his good friend and fellow actor Cliff Curtis.
Source: Sunday

I also had to push through the fatigue - part and parcel of having a traumatic brain injury. At times I had to battle through and suck it up and at other times the filmmakers had to just let me sleep.

This documentary helped me realize it could have been a lot worse. The process of filming has forced me to think about my life and helped me understand myself better. As hard as it is to be grateful, I am.

I have down days, but I am happy to be alive.

I feel like I'm still improving. My speech is getting better. Physically I'm able to move better. Last month I couldn't run, now I'm beginning to jog.

The most important thing for anyone who has suffered a brain injury is having a supportive family and friends who are aware that the person will go through ups and downs and will always need them.

TVNZ1's Sunday show is featuring the emotional journey of the Boy star, since shooting to fame as a youngster.
Source: Sunday

Sometimes I've felt embarrassed about asking for help because I feel like I should be doing a lot on my own. My family and friends have been a massive help in my recovery.

In some ways I feel this accident is positive for my career as an actor. The dark places I've been through and challenges I have had to overcome and am still overcoming has given my acting more depth.

The past year has been the most challenging of my life. The Attitude film crew has been there recording some of my darkest days in the hope young viewers will understand the consequences of reckless driving.

WATCH JAMES' FULL STORY ON SUNDAY on TVNZ 1 at 7.30PM

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