WATCHING Jake Davison play football with his friends, no one would suspect what he has endured in the past 12 months.

Last April, Jake, then eight, was making popcorn at home with his mother, Jaynie.

But Jake suddenly began complaining of a headache.

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Within five minutes, he had collapsed on the floor, terrified he was about to die.

The youngster had suffered a major brain haemorrhage – particularly rare in someone so young.

He was taken by ambulance to the University Hospital of North Durham, in Durham City, and then to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), in Newcastle, where he underwent emergency surgery within hours.

Surgeons were forced to cut into his skull to drain leaking blood.

Jake went under the knife again 48 hours later and spent the next two weeks recovering in the RVI before being allowed home.

Amazingly, he suffered only minor brain damage – unnoticeable to anyone but his closest friends and family.

He underwent speech and language therapy but, nearly 12 months on, is fit and well – again able to play his beloved football with his friends.

Mrs Davison, 35, said: “It’s almost as if it didn’t really happen, or it happened to someone else.

“It was awful. We’re so grateful to everybody at the hospitals that he’s still here.

Without them, there’s a real chance he might not have been.

“They were all fantastic – so caring. We’re so grateful for everything they did.”

The only lasting impact of Jake’s trauma is he occasionally struggles for words.

Soon after Jake left hospital, then-Sunderland FC chairman Niall Quinn arranged for the youngster – a season ticket holder at the Stadium of Light – to meet his Black Cats heroes after a training session.

Mrs Davison, who is married to Neil, 43, and has another son, three-year-old Aidan, is planning a sponsored walk in aid of the RVI’s intensive care unit.

She and others plan to walk the 16 miles from the RVI home to St Andrew’s Crescent, in Blackhill, Consett, County Durham, on Saturday, April 21.

To sponsor her, visit just