I had hoped that someone else had seen this about a week ago , and would start a thread , but as no one has , here goes
this interview was recorded before stirling's trip down a lift shaft ; the interviewer [ actually it was more of a conversation ] was one richard hammond , generally known as the hamster [ he is racing driver sized ] ,a journalist who's day job is appearing in the most popular motoring programme on british TV
the raison d'etre was what they had in common , a big accident in which they suffered a serious brain trauma , stirling's is probably known to most of you , hammond's occurred when driving a jet powered car down a runway ,and a tyre failed at over 300mph , the car rolling into a ball
in both cases it was uncertain that they would survive , and both were in a coma for a month for so
apologies to the mods if this is in the wrong place !
what was interesting to me was how much they had in common , despite the huge difference that you would expect from their chosen careers [ hammond tried to drive a F! car once , described it as completely impossible ...for him ]
first thing that came out was that , in the event , neither had any fear whatever of being killed , when they came round question one was , what happened , did I do something wrong ? in hammonds case the car had a parachute to slow it , he wanted to know if he had pulled the lever ? he had , but sideways at 300+mph it didn't deploy ..similar story regarding mika hakkinen when he fractured his skull , fortunately with no real brain damage , came round after 24 hours ,and promptly asked ...did I make a mistake ?[ he didn't ]
stirling said that what he loved about motor racing was the danger , living on the edge ,so many of his contemporaries died that he surely knew just how dangerous it was
next item on the agenda was recovery , within 3 months or so of regaining conciousness , both felt they were recovered ...but they were not !
hammond said that that he didn't see one of his friends for a year after that , and when his friend told him how ill he had still been after 3 months he realised that it was true ; a further year on he realised that even after 15 months he was still quite ill
stirling said that after the first three months he went and did some laps and realised that his racing career was over ...he could still drive ok but only by thinking ...previously , he ,said, he did everything by instinct , never considering what he was doing , completely automatic ; he said if he had to think then if he didn't kill himself he would certainly kill somebody else ..that lead him on to talking about open road races , where he said he had a horror of hitting a spectator ; he talked of the last year of the mille miglia ....he and his co-driver tried communicating with headphones , but his concentration was such that he could hear nothing ...in the end he was warned of what was coming up by a hand signal in his field of vision [ I suspect that's normal ..I know myself if I need to concentrate hard on driving I can hear nothing ]
hammond also interviewed prof sid watkins ,they discussed stirling's test and the prof said he would not have permitted him to drive at all for a minimum of 2 years after such a traumatic brain injury ; during the programme the importance of not expressing ideas in front of such patients was discussed ; it appears that it imprints , and they believe that's what they think , brain plays funny tricks , hammond thought his wife was someone else even when his actual wife was sitting with him
if you get an opportunity to see the recording , it's a most interesting hour [imho !]
to the optimist a glass is half full ; to the pessimist a glass is half empty ; to the F1 engineer the glass is twice as big as it needs to be