Cracknell ‘lucky to be alive’ after cycling crash

Olympian suffered brain damage after being hit by truck

James Cracknell

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Former Olympic rowing gold medallist James Cracknell has spoken out about the cycling crash that nearly claimed his life.

Cracknell, 38, was hit by the wing mirror of a petrol tanker on July 20 last year while attempting to cycle, row, run and swim from Los Angeles to New York in 16 days. His skull broke in two places and he suffered bleeding on the brain.

Speaking in today’s Daily Telegraph, Cracknell says it was only thanks to his helmet, an Alpina Pheos, and the swift actions of paramedics that he didn’t die.

“I’m lucky to be alive,” he says. “Enough impact was absorbed by the helmet to leave me with “only” two skull fractures, a head full of staples and bleeding to the frontal lobes of the brain – the area that controls personality, concentration, motivation, planning and decision-making,” he says.

“It’s been a frustrating five months and we still don’t know to what extent my brain will repair itself. I get annoyed by things that never used to bother me; I need much more sleep; my facial recognition and time-keeping can be poor; and I have a very black and white view of the world.”

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Cracknell tells the paper he was “lit up like a Christmas tree” when the crash happened in near Winslow in Arizona.