Old head injury, looking for anything I can do to ... - Headway


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Old head injury, looking for anything I can do to improve my quality of life!

SupermanRAF profile image

Good afternoon everyone! Hope you are all well, I recently read James Cracknells book about his recovery from his head injury. And read about headway in the book.

I suffered a head injury in 1995, going face first through a windscreen at around 30mph after being knocked off my bike. Being young and foolish, of course I was not wearing a helmet.

While reading James book, I recognised some of the symptoms in myself, while nowhere near the severity of his injuries, it has certainly had an effect on me.

I struggle to focus, am easily distracted, and can get fixated on a particular issue. I don't seem to suffer with mood swings, and am not particularly aggressive. I am not as empathetic as I could be, I can focus while reading however, and know that I must try to get decent sleep. But I'm keenly aware now of the effect this may have had on my family.

They unfortunately had to see me being scraped off the road, and I'm certainly not what I was before the accident. I exercise regularly, and really notice the difference if I miss a training session at the gym, or my cycle ride to work.

I've never been advised of any issues by health professionals, but it was a long time ago, and I am not sure how or if they would have been able to do anything for me, but anything to improve my concentration levels would be appreciated!

Sorry for banging on anyway!

14 Replies

As far as I am aware James Cracknell still struggles with concentration, focus, fixation, he spoke about this when he did Strictly.

He is an ambassador for Headway.

If you are going to look to see if there is anything you can do, then you could ask your GP to refer you to a Neurologist, or a psychologist that specialises in neurology, they may not resolve any of your problems, but they will be able to identify what is effected and may identify methods you haven't thought of?

Good luck.

Hi Superman, sounds like you may want to try mindfulness. Learn a method where, when you get fixated, rather than following it through, you trigger a stop to the process. No more fixation.

Dear SupermanRAF,

Firstly you 'Bang On' all you want, my friend, how else would, any of, us know what to advise you?

Did you seek, any kind, of Treatment after your, shall I say, Mishap? If so exactly, How Long, afterwards? (I have to say, right from the 'Out', that being 'Scrapped Off The Concrete' is NOT, terribly good, for your Brain😖- mind you, taking a Dive through a Windscreen, isn't Brilliant either.) Jokes apart, you ARE Lucky, that you, Survived at all let alone anything else. You, almost certainly Will, suffer the Longer Term effects, of this 'Mishap', for life- I'm afraid. If I told that 'You ARE Doing VERY well, I wouldn't be exaggerating SupermanRAF.

James Cracknell's story is interesting so, by the way, is his Wife's....Apparently he became so 'Obsessional' that she finally left him- with a Very 'Heavy Heart'! I saw a Video Presentation, some years ago now. It might be worth 'Finding' this.

Please DO contact Headway- The Brain Injury Charity- they have a 'Presence' in every county, normally with 'Outreach Teams', available to Brain Injury Survivors. Either check 'On Line' or ask at your Local Library.

Sorry I can't be, any more Help, however if I can be of any more help...


To be 25 + year post injury and as well as you are, you have done quite well. Especially, that you have your family still around you. One of the saddest things about a head injury is that one way or another a rift appears between partners, family and friends and the HI survivor. Where the survivor ends up being in quite an isolated position as relationships break down.

One thing that is quite common is that post injury, we become different people either by our thoughts or the way behave, even speak or talk. In my case my knowledge of IT, maths and engineering has been supplanted by my knowledge of History. It is the same with emotions, empathy being one of the most common emotional victims within survivors.

I am guessing from the history, you are 50+ (?) which means even without an injury your outlook on life and where you are is changing anyway.

I would embrace what you have and accept you are a different person and don't let any "expert" start trying to let any demons lose.

All the best on your journey

PS great account name

Hi Superman. One approach to improving concentration involves shutting out all distractions and stimulus (preferably with a calming cup of tea or similar and an empty bladder) whilst practicing memory exercises.

Exercises can be anything requiring focus ; for example studying the lyrics to an unfamiliar song or poem (perhaps from the internet) for 5 mins or so, then writing down as much as you can remember. This can be repeated as often as necessary 'til you're word perfect.

Or crosswords (again away from outside stimulus) can be very absorbing. I do the basic one every day from the 'I' newspaper (can't get my head around the cryptic one)……..or you can select ones to suit your level online, from the many free crossword sites.

Word-searches are pretty addictive and simple to arrange by choosing any long word and seeing how many words of 3 or more letters you can make from that one word.

To get to sleep I often start at the beginning of the alphabet and list all the girl's/boys names (for example)/countries/anything I choose beginning with each letter...…..or they could be listed in writing.


There are so many variations and the tasks should be easy enough so as not to be tiring, but challenging enough to keep you interested for 1/2hr or so. 🤔

Simplistic I know, but I think these daily habits have improved my concentration, patience and memory immensely since my Bi 8 years ago.

Best wishes, Cat...

Hang in their Superman it is a slow Journey we are on but slowly and surely we will get there. I sing drives family mad. past is easy to remember for me but ask me what you put and I have to go back to post. Keep away from people who bring you down, they mean well but not good for us. We are survivors and as for memory I drive hubby potty short term has been shot to pieces ha ha ..Laughing as the pair of us sit there and conversation is this .."Who sung this ? Ermmm whats his name. Yeah the one who was in a film with you know who"... So wishing you good luck on Journey to recovery. As Cat said a puzzle or two in my case I learnt Adele words to her song but cant remember it now xxxx Ahh I wish nothing but the best for you it went xx

Thank you all for the advice, I'm just about to turn 40, fortunately my wife did not know me prior to the accident, so this is good, and my youngest brother wasn't born yet, so our relationship is pretty good. However I don't have a great relationship with 3 of my 5 other siblings, and this is bothering me more and more.

I will try to contact Headway, and see if there is anything they could offer.

I do consider myself quite fortunate however, I've had a good life, but I'm becoming far more aware of these relationship failings. And I have a three year old son, and he's very cool, we have a great laugh. Despite him being right in the middle of his threenager phase! 😂

I'll contact Headway and let you know how I get on! Many thanks for your time all

Marnie22 profile image
Marnie22 in reply to SupermanRAF

Headway are great and I sincerely hope you get what you need to improve things. It sounds like you are persistent and would just benefit from a bit of extra advice. Headway and this site - definitely the way to go 😀

Wow. I've just come across this group after an internet search and this is the first post I've read. So many similarities. I too had an RTA in 1995 (although I definitely sustained a head injury!) and am also coming up to 40 and trying to find help and support for similar reasons. I'll post my own story but just wanted to say hi, and thanks for sharing your story. It's already helped me xx

Did you get any help at the time? I must admit the NHS staff who put me back together were awesome, but there was never any follow up, and my family have never spoken to me about what was said at the time. I don't push the issue as my parents had to see the whole episode, so for them it has to have been difficult, and memories they would rather forget.

Handily I have forgotten the whole thing, and one of the first things I did when I got out of hospital was get on my bike and ride around the exact same corner 😂

All my physical injuries, were healed up and tended to, I've had more nose jobs than Katie Price, and apart from the recent aftermath of the incident, people just assumed I'm a boxer👍😊

But I've never had any follow up with the head injuries, and reading James's book ( which I can recommend) let me know that there is help out there, from good people like yourselves!

Sounds like you have coped amazingly well well done! It's never too late to change some family connections as my sons TBI has brought me closer to my sons dad and family we have been apart for 15 years and I never thought that was possible. If its important to you to reconnect with your siblings reach out and take a chance..or. Write down how you feel to them... It may be possible and you will never know unless you try. Best of luck with the teenage years!!! Lol :)


For concentration may I suggest:

- sudoku

- meditation (I follow Michael Sealey on Youtube)

- Journalling (I mainly got this for Gratitude Journalling but found if I planned the day and recalled the day's events my concentration improved)

- Mindfulness (more present than meditation on the task at hand).

- Yoga helps with the above. If you enjoyed cycling you may enjoy Yoga and it's repetitive flows and breathwork. I teach it to all my cycling clients

Best of luck with your positive recovery...

I sustained a head injury in 1975 and found the daily practice of mindfulness meditation has helped me with distractions and concentration.

I’ve read reports on medications. Ritalin etc have great reviews for brain injury. I can’t find a doctor yet who knows about it. I want to try.

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