It felt very shocking to hear just before New Year that Michael Schumacher was in a critical state in hospital. The man who raced over 200 miles per hour for a living had “severe brain trauma” following a skiing accident and though at the time of writing Schumacher’s condition is being reported as steadier, the future remains uncertain.
After Schumacher’s accident, the double gold Olympian James Cracknell was asked to comment. Cracknell himself had suffered a brain injury in 2011 when he was hit on the head by a petrol tanker wing mirror whilst out cycling. He has put his survival down to the fact he was wearing a helmet: “I still have that helmet, which is split in two and covered in blood. Now whenever I cycle I make sure I wear a helmet. One in three people don’t and I find that incredible. It might mess up your hair but it is not as bad as – mucking up your head.” When asked about Schumacher’s accident, Cracknell spoke about the importance of the ski helmet Schumacher was wearing, which may have saved his life also.
As The Royal London, St Mary’s, St George’s and King’s College are London’s four designated Major Trauma Centres, we naturally tend to speak more about conditions, diseases and tumours and less about injury and accident – though these do still form a part of our work here at The National. Sadly, we hear every day of cycling collisions, car accidents, falls and sports injuries – and some of these patients may be transferred to The National from our linked hospitals if they have mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries or for post-trauma rehabilitation. It’s a stark reminder that for some who come through our doors, their lives have been changed in an instant.
We know that many of you will be out on your bikes, being active as part of your New Year resolutions, fundraising for TNBA or off on ski holidays over the next few months so take a look at our resources below for tips on staying safe:
Have fun, take care and look after yourselves.