Brain injury survivor James Cracknell starring on new series of Strictly Come Dancing
Few people would be brave enough to take on the terrifying prospect of dancing live for the nation every weekend, but for former Olympian and brain injury survivor James Cracknell, his effort is even more extraordinary.
Rower and double gold medallist James Cracknell suffered a serious brain injury in 2010 when he had a road traffic accident whilst cycling across America. Following the accident, he was put into a medically induced coma for 10 days and his brain injury left him with lasting epilepsy and frontal lobe damage.
The frontal lobe is the part of the brain which controls empathy, motivation, mood, reasoning and judgement. It can be described as the ‘control panel’ of our personalities and our ability to communicate. Unsurprisingly, damage to this part of the brain can be life-changing.
James has been very open in the media about the impact that his injury has had on his life and his family. He has described himself as having a completely different personality since the accident, something his family have struggled to adjust with. Unfortunately it was announced in March this year that his marriage had ended and he commented how the effect of his brain injury had contributed to his marriage breakdown.
Despite the adversity that he has had to face James has clearly refused to let his injury define him and continues to challenge himself by setting himself extraordinary goals. He explained “I’ve never listened to other people when they set limits for you or tell you that you can’t do something – you have to decide for yourself what you’re capable of.”
Considering the physical and emotional impact that his brain injury has had on him, it is even more impressive that he is one of the 15 of contestants signed up to take on the daunting prospect of gruelling rehearsals, sequinned outfits and dancing in front of four professional judges!
But it’s not just famous athletes who can benefit from this sort of activity. Many brain injury survivors find that hobbies involving music such as dancing, being part of an orchestra or singing in a choir can be a great help in rehabilitation and therapy. Because brain injury symptoms such as personality changes and epilepsy are often ‘hidden’ they can lead to a sense of loneliness or isolation for the sufferer and group activities are also a great way to meet others and avoid the sense of isolation that the symptoms of a brain injury can cause.
Charities such as The Silverlining and Headway regularly organise a range of fun social activities and services in groups spread across the UK, which any one recovering from a brain injury can get involved in.
Having a brain injury shouldn’t mean that your ability to continue taking part in your hobbies should stop. It’s so important that survivors are given access to groups and activities which will help them rebuild their lives and integrate them back into the community.
At Bolt Burdon Kemp, we prioritise obtaining interim payments of compensation for our clients to help them get back on their feet. This not only includes arranging professional case management but also looking into therapies and rehabilitation which will help them to recover their abilities, as well as confidence. We work with a survivor’s family and friends to ensure that they have the best possible support around them, tailored to match their needs.
Katie Lovick-Norley is a paralegal at Bolt Burdon Kemp in the Adult Brain Injury team. If you feel you may have a claim or are enquiring on behalf of a loved one, contact Katie free of charge and in confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Adult Brain Injury team will contact you. Find out more about the Adult Brain Injury Team.