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ITV Documentary Set To Highlight Cracknell Brain Injury Struggle

Documentary Will Highlight The Struggles Faced By James Cracknell After Cycle Injury


An upcoming ITV documentary is set to highlight the struggles faced by double-Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell after his 2010 cycling injury.

Mr Cracknell was cycling across the US as part of a charity challenge in June of 2010 when he was hit by the wing mirror of a passing lorry as he rode along a quiet road outside of Winslow, Arizona.

After being rushed to hospital, he made a complete physical recovery but his personality has permanently changed and his wife complains that his temper is substantially worse than it was before.

There was intense media speculation of the cause of a row between Mr Cracknell and his wife Beverly when it emerged the Olympian grabbed his partner by the neck after an argument while she was pregnant.

Doctors cleared Mr Cracknell of blame and said his brain injuries were the driving force between his newfound aggressive behaviour and he has undergone extensive therapy to help him come to terms with his inability to feel empathy and emotions.

These psychological barriers, as well as the 41-year-old's epilepsies, have made him more vulnerable than he once was and in the ITV documentary he will disclose just how much of an effect the 2010 cycling crash has had on his life.

Commenting on her husband's brain injury, Beverly Cracknell said: "I think the man that I married did disappear, yeah he did. But there are elements that I have grown to admire about who he is now that I probably wouldn't have done if the accident hadn’t have happened.

It recently emerged that Mr Cracknell is aiming to run as a member of European Parliament for the Conservatives in the 2014 elections, but he admits it will be a challenge: "I want to test myself and show that there is more to me than a decent physiology for rowing, that I can be on top of a variety of complex issues."

James Cracknell: Sports Life Stories will air on October 22nd at 10pm on ITV4.

Expert Opinion
A brain injury can have devastating effects on not only physical behaviour but it can also alter a person’s emotions and personality. James Cracknell and his family have been very candid about how his personality changed with him becoming more frustrated and aggressive towards people including his wife.

“It is important that family and loved ones understand the complexities of head injuries when caring for the injured person. There are many challenges which people with serious head injuries face and this particular documentary will highlight the Cracknell’s experiences and problems that will be recognised by many people who have faced the same issues.

“The more we educate ourselves about brain injuries and how an injury could affect us and our families, the more we can understand how to help. There are also various charities which offer support to both victims and their families including Headway, the Brain Injury Association, and people should not think they have to go through the process on their own.”
Neil Whiteley, Partner