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'New chapter' for man paralysed by Manchester bomb

Photo: ITV / Toby Dallmeyer

A man who suffered life-changing injuries in the Manchester terror attack in May is due to leave hospital care for the first time in three months.

Martin Hibbert, 41, from Bolton, had gone to the Ariane Grande concert with his teenage daughter. They left the concert during the encore in a bid to avoid traffic. It put them in the foyer at the same time as suicide-bomber Salman Abedi.

Martin shielded his daughter from the explosion, sustaining 22 separate wounds. One bolt was lodged in his spinal cord, leaving him permanently paralysed from the waist down.

His daughter was hit by just one bullet, and remains in hospital.

X-Ray of the bolts lodged inside Martin Hibbert after the attack

The surgeon that operated on Martin's spinal injury described what it was like to treat such seriously ill patients:

"I mean, I am a neurosurgeon, so I spend a lot of time looking at scans, and so do my colleagues. Every time you see a scan you think about what is wrong and how can you rectify it, and then you start planning your management . Very rarely you would see scans that make you feel .. sad and upset. We kept seeing patients with scans like this [Martin's] which we are not used to seeing."

"Just seeing those scans was making us upset that patients had been subjected to such horrible trauma ..through no fault of their own."

– Dr Saxena, Neurosurgeon, Salford Royal Hospital

On finding out he was paralysed, Martin said:

"When I found out I’d be paralysed for the rest of my life, I didn’t cry. I wasn’t angry. My daughter was alive. I was alive. It was a case of, 'we've got that out of the way - what next?' "

– Martin Hibbert

Martin is now medically fit enough to be discharged, and is waiting for a suitable property to come available, before going home and getting on with a new chapter.

Since May 22nd Martin has spent time at Salford Royal Hospital, Southport Spinal Injuries Centre, and Sandpipers Respite centre. The football agent has documented his remarkable recovery and rehabilitation in an ITV documentary airing at 9pm tonight (29th August): Manchester: 100 Days After The Attack.

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