Alex Danson: England captain and Olympic champion on head injury recovery


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Getting higher from brain damage has been my biggest anguish – Danson

9 months previously, Alex Danson laughed at a shaggy dog chronicle made by her boyfriend.

It used to be a seemingly insignificant second, one thing that occurs in most cases in a relationship.

Nonetheless for Danson it resulted in what she describes as the “most anxious share” of her lifestyles.

Two years on from winning Olympic hockey gold along with her Big Britain team-mates, Danson used to be on holiday along with her now fiance Alex.

He, she says, is “actually no longer that amusing”. This time he used to be, and when she threw her head serve to chortle, it hit a concrete wall.

The affect gave her what she describes as a gentle-weight traumatic brain damage. She has no longer but completely recovered.

“It used to be exhausting but equally it wasn’t a car shatter,” the 34-year-passe tells BBC Breakfast’s Sally Nugent. “I didn’t fall from a worthy height. There used to be no seemingly huge trauma on the time but I knew one thing wasn’t accurate.

“I build in mind getting serve to the residence that night time and I wakened each and each hour. I’m an athlete. We use our lifestyles pretending we’re dazzling because of you need to compete. We did heaps of things injurious. The following day we went working.

“We had been on holiday for one other couple of days and getting dwelling used to be a nightmare. I was very ailing. I had my palms on my head on the airport, I was crying.

“By the time I obtained dwelling, I wasn’t nicely. I had evil headaches, gentle sensitivity, noise. I got right here serve and I was in bed in a dismal room for a month.”

Danson used to be on holiday in Kenya along with her fiance Alex when she hit her head

‘I lost the flexibility to focus on’

Danson had captained England at a residence World Cup rapidly before her holiday in Kenya.

Six weeks after coming dwelling, she joined her team-mates on an away day – doing nothing more strenuous than pottery portray.

“I persuaded the physician that I’d be in a pickle to head,” she says. “I went for an hour and all I build in mind used to be talking to my team-mate next to me and I lost the flexibility to focus on. I accurate couldn’t yelp any phrases.

“Clearly I was disturbed but I didn’t favor to reason a scene so I went serve to portray my egg cup. I went dwelling as soon as that session used to be carried out.

“I was very sick. I build no longer build in mind a lot. I went to scientific institution, I was very ailing.”

‘Noise can develop me feel ailing’

When Danson left scientific institution “sometime later” she used to be excited, taking into consideration it meant she used to be higher.

Nonetheless even the crawl dwelling used to be a anguish – Danson made her dad pressure slowly, and describes going over bumps as “horrendous”.

“That is when the toughest share of this started,” she says. “The realisation that head accidents can carry time. Strive to be attentive to that.

“The following few months had been actually anxious. I was in bed 24 hours a day. I’m able to also rarely stroll to the leisure room.

“I couldn’t contain gentle, sound, touch, anything else. It used to be nearly enjoy my sensory dials had been whacked up. Even conserving a conversation, I’d favor to focus on very slowly.

“I’ve improved vastly and headaches are my predominant anguish. Light is serene reasonably shiny and noise can develop me feel ailing.”

Danson told her Instagram followers referring to the damage in March

‘In sickness and in nicely being’

Issues are convalescing for Danson, but she says she would perchance perchance no longer accept as true with obtained this a ways with out the improve of her family and fiance.

“If you happen to accept as true with a head damage there is one particular person that physically goes via it, but somebody you consult with who’s had a head damage would yelp they ought to no longer one of the most practical particular person whose lifestyles it impacts,” she says.

“Their lives in a single day had been thoroughly different. After I was serene ailing, Alex proposed. He accurate mentioned, in sickness and in nicely being, he wasn’t going anywhere.

“Now I gaze the magnitude of what he did and the timing by which he did it. It used to be serve in December. We told mates and family who visited us step by step.

“We mentioned then we would earn married in September. We had been serene saying each and a week that I’d be higher next week. September’s coming spherical and we’re no longer going to trade our plans.

“I serene imagine by September hopefully I am going to be 100% higher and we’ll admire our wedding day completely. If no longer, we’ll accurate alter somewhat bit.”

Danson obtained engaged in December

‘I’m able to feel your hugs’

More only in the near previous, Danson has returned to GB Hockey’s practicing corrupt once a week to use time along with her team-mates.

Serving to them realize what she is going via is anxious, so Danson wrote them a letter.

She says: “I mentioned things enjoy: ‘Immediate conversations for me are correct. Flood me with positivity. Talk to me about certain things because of detrimental things in the in the intervening time for whatever motive, my brain can’t route of. I’m able to feel your hugs, I’m able to focus on but the reality is I accept as true with an invisible illness that implies I’m no longer in a pickle to are residing to my skill.’

“It used to be making them attentive to some of my indicators and requesting their support in saying: ‘Please have faith me that I am going to expose you after I’m higher.’ I am going to expose the realm after I’m 100% because of there will likely be no stopping me.”

‘I’m told I am going to develop a fleshy recovery and I completely imagine that’

As nicely as her team-mates, Danson desires others with head accidents to study from her ride.

“I underreported and I learned the exhausting device,” she says. “If this helps folks which accept as true with it to be accurate about what you would also likely be feeling and what you would also likely be going via… we’ll accept as true with days when or no longer it is relentless and you suspect it will also no longer stride, but below accurate imagine it will.”

That belief is one part Danson has.

“I’m doing all the pieces in my energy to be sure and behave as although I am going to earn higher,” she says. “I’m no longer playing my sport, I’m nowhere reach physically in a pickle to build that but.

“I’m serene the identical particular person. I’m serene extremely competitive. I’ve had the most wonderful profession. I below no circumstances thought it would be taken away so with out phrase. I serene hope to come serve.

“I’m told I am going to develop a fleshy recovery and I completely imagine that.”

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer season to showcase female athletes in a draw they below no circumstances accept as true with been before. By device of more are residing females’s sport accessible to accept as true with a look at all around the BBC this summer season, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to flip up the volume on females’s sport and alter perceptions.Get out more right here.

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