In February 2002 Chris Clark was working in London as a carpenter, spending an evening out with friends. He was hit over the back of the head in an unprovoked attack. The paramedic team re-started Chris’s heart three times on the way to hospital. Substantial trauma to the rear of Chris’s head shunted his brain into the front of his skull, causing additional damage to the frontal lobe. Whilst pressure was relieved through a drain placed into his skull his wife, Tracy, was told to prepare for the worst. With children aged 12 and 10 she was told that should Chris survive, his quality of life would be severely restricted.
Not only did Chris survive, he is now able to use his experience to support others who’s lives have been impacted by brain injury or stroke. However, the journey to recovery was not a straightforward and the carefully chosen words in their short film reflect this.
At Headway Norfolk & Waveney Chris was supported to develop his skills to return to work and embrace the challenges that this would bring. He decided not to go back to work as a carpenter. He wanted a new career supporting other people facing the challenges of an ABI. When he had completed his programme he began volunteering in order to learn how he might best help others. He undertook studies in health and social care management and in 2014 became manager of our Norwich centre.
‘If someone had told me 20 years ago this is what I was going to do I would not have believed them. But brain injury or stroke can happen to anyone at any time. I am proud to be able to use my experience to support other families.’
Chris also shared his story with us back in 2017 with an awareness campaign which focused on 'A New Me', highlighting the changes people go through after they have had a brain injury or stroke. This interview carried out for local media gives a remarkable insight into what life is like after a brain injury.