Posted on July 29, 2010 · Posted in Brain Injury

But Helmet Didn’t Shield James Cracknell From Serious Brain Injury

Doctors believe that Olympic rower/adventurer James Cracknell’s new helmet saved his life last week.

Cracknell sustained traumatic brain injury after being struck by a truck while cycling in Arizona filming a documentary for Discovery Channel, his wife has disclosed to the press.

Cracknell’s wife, Beverley Turner, said that at one point his condition was so dire that she thought they’d have to pull the plug on his life support. She added that it might take six months for Cracknell to recover from his injuries. But I wonder  to what extent he will recover, and what will the long-term impact of his traumatic brain injury?

Cracknell is semi-conscious in a neuro-trauma recovery ward, and in press interviews Turner said that she’s banking that the fact that he’s an athlete will help him pull through and recover despite his head injuries.

Cracknell was hit from behind and reportedly fractured his skull at the back of his head. But his injury is actually in the front of his brain, because his brain shot forward when his helmeted head hit the road. He sustained a contrecoup injury to his frontal lobe, with bleeding and swelling. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that governs personality, decision making and motivation, his wife told the press, “All the characteristics that make James who he is.”

Luckily for Cracknell he had just bought a new Alpina bike helmet, which is designed so that it fits low on the back of the head. That design helped Cracknell. Doctors said that the helmet, which split in two when Cracknell hit the ground, saved his life.

Cracknell is alive, but he still suffered serious brain injury, despite his helmet. He is in a coma.

Doctors are saying that Cracknell will make a full recovery, which is a rather ridiculous prognosis at this juncture. Cracknell’s wife is correct: He will have a long recovery. And I’m afraid, because of the location of Cracknell’s brain injuries, his recovery is going to be a very difficult one, with no guarantees that he will emerge the same man as he was before the accident.

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447