Irish cyclist “hadn’t a scratch” after crash but had suffered brain injury

Posted on: April 29th, 2018

The crash cycling in Dublin was dismissed as nothing at the time; the rider picking themselves up off the road and continuing on their way. But all was not as it seemed and now Linda Collins is writing about her experience.

 

An Irish woman has told how she had no obvious signs of injury after crashing but would later realise she’d suffered a brain injury.

Linda Collins was riding to work in July, 2014, in Dublin when the crash occurred. She was on Camden St in the south inner city when a screw came loose on her front mudguard.

She was thrown over the handlebars and the 28-year-old from Baltimore in Co Cork landed head-first on the tarmac.

She got up and got on her way, continuing into work. But on her arrival at the office it became clear all was not well.

Her recall is that she was pulling up to a red traffic light when she crashed.

“The fall was a bit of a blur, but I didn’t have a scratch on me. People were getting out of cars and asking was I okay,” she said.

“Then I was talking to colleagues when I got into work. I thought, ‘I have no idea of what you’re saying to me, I know you’re talking to me, but I have no idea what the words mean’.

“My brain wasn’t processing it, and I knew there was something wrong with me,” she told the Irish Independent.

The only obvious sign she had taken a serious bang was her cracked helmet. But an examination at hospital revealed severe concussion, whiplash and, later discovered, a mild brain injury.

What would follow over the next few years was insomnia, headaches, fatigue, attention and concentration problems as well as memory loss and irritability.

She had just changed jobs and moved in with new people. And in her condition she felt every new person she met thought she was “bananas”.

And now she has a new site ‘Patience Living With A Brain Injury’ and is writing about her ordeal and recovery.

The site is also a comprehensive guide for people suffering from brain injury. It is filled with advice on the many consequences of such an injury.

“I couldn’t work, I couldn’t socialise. I felt isolated, alone and clueless if I’m honest,” Linda Collins writes of the aftermath of the crash.

“Surely I didn’t have a brain injury? They’re just being overly cautious! I don’t have one single bruise on my body.

“And I bruise like a peach! But yet, I knew something was different. Something had changed and I couldn’t figure it out. There were too many ‘Why’s?’ to ignore.

“About two years into my recovery, my doctor said; ‘You’ve such a positive attitude, you’ve tried everything to get better and I’d love you to put that resilience into something to help others’.

“Then I thought maybe I’ll start writing about it. I did start and found it too emotional at the time and too difficult to relive the experiences I’d had.

“One day a few months later, in October last year, I just started writing. It all started coming out, I wasn’t getting emotional.”

And she said even a few years on she still has to manage herself.

“I find I start to slip if I don’t practice mindfulness or if I don’t get my eight hours sleep,” she said.

“I definitely found my symptoms were a lot more severe around Christmas when I was socialising a lot more.

“Even when I was getting ready to launch the website, I had two episodes and a panic attack in the week before it went live.

“It seems ridiculous that all of these little things add to extra stress. I will always have to manage these symptoms but hopefully not as strictly.

“I’m almost four years into my journey now and I certainly don’t have it all figured out.

“But what I do know, is that I’ve got to a point where I can live a normal life. My brain injury no longer defines me. So, I want to share with you all how I got to this point.”

 

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