This is the story of how I was helped by Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) in 2019.
I took up racing in 2017 but had decided I was going to retire from the sport at the end of the season, which usually runs from March – October. It was Saturday 5th October 2019, the last racing weekend of the season and I was taking part in the race held at Brands Hatch alongside 33 other riders. We’d all been looking forward to the weekend.
I was lined up on the grid ready for the first race.
I don’t remember it but I’ve seen from videos that my bike stalled as the race started and I was rolling at less than 5mph. One of the riders at the back of the group was travelling at around 50-70mph and hit the back of my bike which sent us both flying through the air.
Another rider who then had nowhere to go collided with me, splitting my helmet open in the impact.
I was knocked unconscious and had suffered burns to my hips from sliding down the circuit.
I vaguely remember someone saying ‘the air ambulance is landing so it might get noisy’ but it’s all very fuzzy when I think back. I remember the ambulance crew doing an ultrasound on me, and there were concerns I’d broken my femur and my pelvis. It was all very surreal. I was also given pain relief drugs.
I’ve heard that most people don’t remember their journey in an air ambulance but I definitely remember parts of it. There was a lady, who I later learnt was Paramedic Caroline Rose, who was keeping me company. She kept telling me not to move my head, as I was trying to twist my head to see out of the window. Instead she was telling me what we were flying over, like the London Shard.
I got to King’s College Hospital in about 10 minutes but it took my family over an hour to get there and then sort parking. It really does go to show how life-changing the air ambulance is in such time critical moments. I’m so thankful that KSS were there to help treat me and get me to hospital so quickly.
When I arrived at King’s I went straight in for a CT scan which fortunately revealed that I hadn’t sustained any breakages or bleeds on the brain, and I was able to go home.
I felt better the following day but this was short lived and was perhaps my body’s reaction to the crash. I thought ‘it’s crazy to feel this ok after such a big knock to the head’. The Monday after my accident though I felt really bad and didn’t end up returning to work for another three months. It was as though my brain couldn’t cope with concentration, so things like stressful situations, tense films etc.
I’m back at work now and am in full health apart from the fact I struggle with my memory, following head injuries from the crash. I have bad memory, get rough headaches and struggle to drive for more than 20 minutes at a time, I’m not sure whether these things will ever improve.
I work for a public sector organisation who’ve been very supportive in adapting my job to my needs, helping in any way possible.
As far as head injuries go, I know in hindsight that I was very lucky. The accident certainly reassured me that retiring from racing was the right decision. I’m so thankful to KSS for everything that they did for me that day. I know how serious my accident could have been.
There is nothing that compares to air ambulances like KSS. I hadn’t heard much about KSS before I got into racing, but I’ve seen how their expertise can truly make such a huge difference when it’s needed.