Sport after a Head Injury: Reading Cat's post on... - Headway


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Sport after a Head Injury

sospan profile image

Reading Cat's post on being asked to participate in a study, reminded me ( :-) ) I was asked to participate in a questionnaire on what "sport" people with head injury and complex neurological injuries would like to participate in.

On the list were quite a few I couldn't believe were being suggested from the OH team - Zumba, Cricket, Football and Tennis etc. You would have to be a long way down your recovery path to even contemplate these.

So I could imagine something like archery, bowls and I know a couple on here even manage to cycle which I find very impressive but what sport if any do people take part in ?

19 Replies

I am and was into MTBs so have carried that on.

i did have a fast verging on twitchy road bike, but I couldn't gel with it again, was the bike I'd had the accident on, though no evidence it was anything to do with the bike.

I occasionally walk mountains/hills though only a few hours at most. Fine as long as my brain is fully charged but once I tire my walk slows and my balance becomes steadily worse. I suspect I'd struggle to safely walk the distance the Barron/Andy is going to do, though my feet might look better!

Both hill walking and MTB are old skills so I don't have to think.

I did go back to running, but don't have the zing for it like I did before the BI. I have ridden my bike again, only on nice days on cycle paths on Dartmoor and always with someone. I did start horse riding again but after having seizures I have been advised not to do that anymore due to the risk of falling off if I were to have another one. I was seeing a personal trainer for a bit who had me doing lots of gym based exercise, I was always supervised in case I had a wobble

Running, has saved my life and improved mental health

Was fairly sporty before BI - couldn't wait to get back to something and yoga was one of my "life-savers" in the early days. Needed to see some improvement and get back to things I used to do. My yoga teacher sent me some guidance and cd with relaxations on.

Swimming was fantastic - and I cried when I was first allowed back in the pool ... had to have someone with me first few times and then let lifeguard know if I was swimming alone..... I try to swim twice a week or more

Badminton - not usually a contact sport - and again something that I had always done pre BI . Initially I just went for a bit of social chit chat and not to play ..... but this week won all my four games of the evening.

Cycling - I'm not exactly built for this - but was necessary as form of short transport and good for concentration. I'll never be any good and won't be cycling for England ever but have built it up to enjoy 5 miles or so ( in good weather mind you :-) )

I was told anything that was not a contact sport should be OK - and try to find things you find you enjoy....

Hope you find something to suit ...

sospan profile image
sospan in reply to moo196

Don't know what your injury was but impressed playing badminton with hand and eye coordination required

Miss_Dizzy profile image
Miss_Dizzy in reply to sospan

That's just what I thought!

moo196 profile image
moo196 in reply to sospan

Yeah- I did struggle for a while - but it helped that I played beforehand and people were very patient with me . Helped when I got used to my new prescription in varifocals once my sight had settled after a few months ..... Maybe I'm "lucky" not to have many "outwardly visible" scars of my cvst ..... mostly its all internal and more psychological after effects of not being in control and living with the blood clot that won't go away ......

Have a good w/e ! :-)

I walk and swim. Can't consider running or cycling they wobble my head too much. I'm contemplating seeing what I could tackle in the gym, some weight training would be OK as long as I don't have to bend over too much or the rowing machine.

I desperately need to up the activity, can't lose weight despite a calorie intake of 1200 a day.

Thing is the fatigue kicks in and stops it too soon. Oh well, must get moving 😀

Janet x

Thanks all,

Swimming wasn't on the list of the proposed sports neither was walking which was strange because we have plenty indoor and outdoor swimming facilities and in Wales plenty of places to walk on the coast and hills

I still ride horses, though currently more hacking out than anything else. I did quite a bit of swimming for a while. I try to do quite long dog walks. Pre BI I did quite a lot of fell walking, but have only been up one mountain since, it's my next thing to have a shot at. I keep thinking I'll give yoga a try too, but haven't quite got round to it.


A bit of cycling which helped with my balance and ability to get back out and about (bit dodgy for a while though...) but mostly sea kayaking. Was training for a charity paddling event when I had the accident, so it was my initial focus (obsession?!) in early recovery. Luckily I could drag the boat to the beach on a trolley so suspended driving licence didn't stop that. Buggered if I can now acquire new skills, so after much hard work it's become my part-time money earner as a kayak guide/coach. I've also recently turned out for Headway in a Mixed Ability football league which has been an eye opener. Some folk who clearly have had to rock up with a Carer, serious physical issues but made me, one of the 'Invisible Injury' types, feel very limited! Great how well some of the 'normal' teams play with the Special Needs types like us; an amazing example of inclusivity.

Swimming something I need to do more (any!) of, ditto yoga.

Reading this post I hope will make me less lazy over Winter :-)


To prove I was in control of my destiny, the first thing I did after discharge from hospital was buy a new yellow bike. Leg weakness was a problem getting going, so I persevered to strengthen muscles and to improve balance.

Trouble is the roads are a nightmare where I live and bike won't fit in the car for off-road tracks elsewhere so not a great success.

I stick to driving to my local beauty spot and walking, alternated with resting. In summer, it's footy or basketball in the park with grandson, which can be pretty full-on but we take turns in goal ; great fun. :-/ xx

I try swimmng every now and then, but with great care...the trouble is with ME that your internal batteries can drain v quickly and I have an absolute horror of finding myself in the same situation as I found myself in duringa hydrotherapy session at the hospital - ignoring the pysio's suggestion that 15 minutes was probably enough, I stayed in for 10 more, then was unable to climb the stairs to get out....they had to get the hoist in to rescue me, and wheelchair me to the changing room.

In fact I don't so much swim as stay at the side and kick my legs out occasionally, and float. But apparently the whole of the internal body gets a work out as a result of the extra pressure of the water, and that in itself sems to be enough to do me in!

I used to manage yoga, some days were more successful than others. Trying to balance ranged from the hysterically funny to downright annoying, and there were one or two kneeling postures that ended with a thump as I continually fell forwards. As I am hypermobile I tended to over stretch though, and I was warned against anything inverted because of the aneurysm. Plus I always fell asleep during the relaxation. Glad to say I wasn't the only one. I am hoping to give it another go though, as I did enjoy it.

My husband has a horror of my being on a bike but a 3 wheeler is a possibility for thenfuture. I don't think my balance is that bad...until I try and walk without my stick that is.

Well, I run (or I used to - I have a leg injury, now, grumble grumble...). I am even slower that I was before my accident (and, I mean, I was *always* slow!), but I have run (well, got round, anyway!) the London Marathon, twice, raising money for Headway.

I often go to pilates classes(which are fairly slow and gentle), and I work out at the gym at work, and I often swim, although it is hard to get out to the pool, since I can't drive, as I'm 'blind' - I am fine for most things, but there is NO WAY I could drive. Or cycle, of course - but I wouldn't dare do that, anyway - that was how I got my injury - apparently I fell off my bike, on holiday in France. Luckily, I had a helmet on - we assume that, if I hadn't, I'd have been far worse!

TBI was 7 yrs 10 mths ago, was 45 when it occurred. Double fracture, affected frontal lobe. Can remember nothing for a month prior to it, and nothing till 3 months after. Was in hospital for 6 months, paralysed down left side initially, and fell frequently when trying to stand. Used to go to the hospital gym for regular sessions as part of the group. Balance was awful at first, but used to walk around the hospital. Used the gym in organised sessions, and really took to the static rower, something I used to do pre-accident. I wasn't hindered by my balance, so it as a good exercise in my case. Had previously been a runner, and as a Firefighter always concious of my physical fitness. I was desperate to get back to jogging, and there is an athletics track at the rear of my house, so I jogged 100m on it, soon after being released (escaping! ;) ) On the second anniversary of my fall I walked a 95 mile of road walk across the length of my county over three days. In the last few years I have completed a half marathon in a reasonable time for my age, cycled 106 miles across Mid-Wales, taking 10 hours.

My balance is still not great, and the change in my gait has meant frequent injuries, and I am nowhere near as fast a runner as I was pre-accident. I have no wish to attempt playing football or rugby, as I think I would just become frustrated. I used to be a competent 3 ball juggler, able to carry on till I got pored. It has taken me a few years to remaster it, but have yet to manage a dozen ball tosses! So I have been lucky to be able to accomplish many of the things I used to do, and taking part in sport again has been very satisfying, and I believe has had a massive positive impact in my recovery. If nothing else it has had a very positive effect on my fractured mental health and self esteem! Like 'allsorted', sports participation, not just running in my case, has saved my life and mental health!

sospan profile image
sospan in reply to miracleman

Congrats that's some recovery!

Since my own injury i have come across quite a few people that find running really good. I guess a lot of it is the challenge - being able to push yourself further or faster and also that post injury a lot of us aren't good with people and running is very much a solitary past time.

True about it being a saviour, one guy I met many issues and used to take himself for a walk to escape them, part of his walk used to take him round a park with a running track. He thought why walk round it and started running on it a little at first and then built up. Eventually he would spend ages going round and round before he thought about leaving the track and running on the roads and lanes and now feels so much better meets more people etc.

miracleman profile image
miracleman in reply to sospan

Yes, the challenge is important, at 52, it not about personal bests (PBs) , or other peoples times. I have an all time PB, and a Post Accident PB (PAPB!) ;) But I never really pay much attention to the latter, and the former is as unattainable as me flying to the moon! My running is about getting out on my own, with my thoughts, giving myself some breathing space; then coming home to my long suffering wife to apologise for my latest irrational behaviour! (Though those are becoming less frequent, and that may have something to do with running.)

I have also benefited by adopting a dog, and she has arguably been as beneficial to my mental state as running!



sospan profile image
sospan in reply to miracleman

One thing I miss the ability to measure myself against others, not necessarily aim to beat them but to see how long I could match them.

I also re-homed a dog in September a massive BoerBoel which has more mental foibles than I have. As you say in your article, since having him I have talked to more people in the last 3 months than I have in the last 4 years.

And of course he is the ultimate source of motivation to get out of the chair when your feeling sorry for yourself or ache

miracleman profile image
miracleman in reply to sospan

Though I had bouts of clinical depression in the first couple of years of my recovery, when I was suicidal. In the years since I never succumbed to that mental illness (Obviously Doh !) I have never really felt sorry for myself; rather VERY sorry for the pain and inconvenience I have inflicted on others, particularly my family!

Running is something I can do alone (or with Willow! ;) ), but unfortunately I have been plagued by a series of injuries; which, I think, are due to balance problems, and the fact that my running gait has changed markedly. It doesn't deter me, I have a stubborn streak, classic TBI. personalty

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