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My brain injury on the telly

Only about a day left to catch my brief t.v appearance on BBC i Player. bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b...

I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

17 Replies

What an upsetting story, especially hearing about your poor wife. And what an ordeal for your children......all from a burst tyre.

Your kids must have been overjoyed to see you recovering after losing their mother but it must have been a hard task for you keeping things together after such trauma.

Thank you for posting this, James. It is heartbraking yet inspirational, and so generous of you to allow us a glimpse into your life.

Wishing the best for the future for you and your family. Cat x


Wow! Thanks for sharing this with us.


Well done James, it's a fantastic story well told and full of inspiration, you are right to have been young gives you a better starting point, I had encephalitis so no physical trauma but the long term damage is just as devastating and I am 60 so less years to effect the best possible result, but like you I was fairly fit and well educated( my brain was always well exercised and pushed) so I'm not phased by having to relearn and I understand what's needed to improve, it just all takes so long, I want to improve now !!!!! Long may you continue to spread the word and continue with your love of life, best wishes Janet xxx


Now I can understand why others can see I'm getting tired before I realise it. I get problems with speech and I'm irritable but it's not as obvious a problem as yours.

I think it's very good of you to show how these problems are still with you, I not sure I could be as brave.

I too have three children but I can't imagine coping with them on my own now or then.

A big well done to you and I hope you continue to improve.

Apart from your eye patch it's hard to see any disability until you get tired or hungry. A very visual way to show an invisible disability. I hope from your appearance onto that people's perceptions can be challenged or changed.

Thank you for being so open


did getting the info from the helicopter doctor help

like you i have no memories, of my accident and spent so many years trying to remember and get the facts,

now i couldnt care less, and think i dont want to ever know


I have memories upto the point of impact, falling off my motorbike to the right and hitting the ground. From Jul7 1967 to at least September 67, nothing much.

Not really bothered now to be honest; I've been the louder, raucous person for 46 years, much longer than the 17 yo quiet studious type I'm told I was. Do I care ... no.


Hello brainedat17,

I was just reading these posts (is that the right term?) and I came across yours and I noticed the date (of your accident) - 1967 - my own was slightly earlier that year (7 May). I remember, in the hospital I was in, going into the surgical ward (biggest in the hosp.) and it was full of vehicle accident victims (a lot of them bikers), people with their legs in plaster suspended by wires & etc...it was, I think, the first thing I saw on two legs (just about). I remember being so shocked, I was thinking how lucky I was not to be as they were, & it really cheered me up, sorry about that!

Watched the clip - terrible - how quick you can be forever changed, it seems that god is really 'turning the knife' to have such an accident and then his wife dies as well, but he's done v. well.

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Hello Taul-Zulloates,

I was in Brodie Ward, Atkinson Morely Hospital, Wimbledon. After some weeks I was sent, still comatose, to the Holy Cross Hospital, Haslemere, Surrey. I came round in the ambulance with a month - and more to come - of my life missing.

We certainly have seen the full gamut of injury, slow recovery and after between us I suspect.

In the HC Hospital there were persons exactly as you describe, some with it and plenty without it, broken limbs and all brain damaged too. I remember one patient above all who was a Cornishman - Tregenza. He made the best out of a bad job and kept us all entertained in more ways than one.

Skipper53 is certainly right in his assessment of being young and fit to help with survival.

The surgeon whose handiwork I still carry on and in my skull was a Mr Bhati; a very nice man whom I met just once in the follow-up clinic. I do recall his words, 'You riders need to wear helmets, I have a ward full of the head injured for want of a helmet.' It was to be six years before he got his wish thanks to the Motor Cycles [Wearing of Helmets] Regs1973 and of course if you were a Sikh after the passing of the Religious Exemption Act 1976 then you were entitled to the same neurological treatment as those of us not wearing a helmet :)

I don't know how much social care you received after discharge but for me there was none after I'd seen the surgeon on the follow up. I had some very peculiar outlooks on life and did things that I'm in no way proud of. There was no advice or help available as there was today and I'm sure you must have suffered likewise?

Regarding the change my dear and late Mum who looked after me, my father having legged it previously, was told that the change was likely to be to the opposite personality [I was quiet and studious]. Well, I've been raucous, noisy and sometimes studious now but it didn't apparently interfere with my ability to understand things. Mind you, in the first year or so of recovery I became something I'd cross the road to avoid but thankfully I quietened down.

If there's one thing the TBI taught me it was to lie, cheat and make omissions. Go for a job and mention the surgery, epilepsy or any of the other after effects then you might just as well not bothered - but of course things have changed now.

I went to the aid of a colleague who suffered a full fit in the street. Once she was back and communicating I said to her, 'I'll not say anything .....' only to be asked why not, when our employer was fully aware of her malady.

Thanks for your reply - I didn't mean to write a book but hope I've stopped before you got bored with it.


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I've only just worked out what an impact food and drink(non alcoholic) has on my functions, it's only taken 12 months! At least now I realise I'm not going to get going properly in the morning 'til I've had my breakfast, I'm still learning. Janet


Very, very well done. An upsetting yet Inspiring story


Thanks for your kind words everyone. My only aim for the film was that it should be honest and i think it was. I let myself get too tired that day so they could catch what can happen. Food can have a quick effect, i've met people who always carry some sweets in their pocket. Meeting people has helped me, i'm not interested in remembering exactly what happened in the accident but i need to know what happened to me. On those bad days when i can't cope it's helpful to know just how far i've come. I've been fortunate to meet a lot of the people involved in my care, from the first policeman on the scene to the air ambulance crew and my consultant. Wonderful people all.

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Now I can explain why I'm obese!!!! Thanks!


Sorry for your loss. Trust a smooth recovery.


I wasn't going to watch this, but I am so glad I did, and I will put it on for my husband later. He had a massive SAH and a stroke in October last year and is doing really well, but stories like yours are so inspiring and give so much hope to people like us I am sure. It must have been hard for your to share your sadness with the world, and I really hope your life goes from strength to strength, and that of your children too. Thank you so much.


WGOIHH is one of the best science lectures I've ever been to. I've put this video up on YouTube now for those who missed it

I hope the BBC will let it stay there

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Thanks, I am sharing this with my friends on Facebook, even though my own brain related problems are not too bad I still have a few.


Hello James, it was great to see your TV slot. As we know, the hidden injury will always need explanation, and your show did that for hundreds of people who were probably completely unaware of what we manage on a daily basis. The double vision, the loss of words, jumbling up words and sentences, missing weeks of memories and everything else were well documented, and I salute you!

Via Headway, I have been involved in explaining my head injury to health workers and co-workers and it really takes people by surprise what a TBI really means for our everyday lives and our families and friends.

Best wishes, Suee11