The attack happened in London, where Gary had met his attacker briefly in a pub after covering an England rugby league match.
Gary, who now works for The Sun, was left fighting for his life, and spent time at hospitals in London and Cambridge following the assault.
In a piece for The Sun recalling the past year, Gary wrote: “Waking up from I thought was an overnight sleep, it was a shock to learn it was December and I could not speak as I had a tracheostomy. Over the next few weeks, the full extent of what happened was painted out in graphic detail.
“A fractured skull after hitting my head on a kerbstone as I fell to the ground in London after being punched was just the start. Turns out I had been resuscitated after suffering a cardiac arrest and but for an ECMO machine, I would not be here – simple as that.
“ECMO – short for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation – basically is a machine that does your lungs’ job for you.”
Gary was later transferred to a hospital in Salford, and after a lengthy period of rehabilitation was eventually discharged on 4 February.
Flanagan, 35, was sentenced to two years in prison after he admitted causing grievous bodily harm, but is now out on licence.
Added Gary: “Am I mad? No. Am I disappointed? No. Am I determined to fully get over what happened? Yes. What happens in life is going to happen. It’s how you react to it.”