'I still walk and talk differently now': Motorsport crash victim on how he studies for school

Sam Norris suffered a life-threatening brain injury in a crash in Glasgow in June 2019

Sam Norris suffered a life-threatening brain injury in a crash in Glasgow in June 2019 - Credit: Headway Suffolk

A teenager who has spent the last two years recovering from a near-fatal speedway crash, has revealed how he studied at home during lockdown with a brain injury.

Sam Norris, from Linton, near Haverhill, was left in intensive care with a life-threatening brain injury after a speedway crash in Glasgow in June 2019, aged just 15, competing for the Mildenhall Fen Tigers at the British Youth Speedway Championships.

He couldn't speak for five weeks after the accident and underwent a gruelling recovery process, which included intensive physiotherapy.

Now aged 17, he has shared how he was supported by Headway Suffolk to study at home through lockdown while still battling with the lasting effects of the crash, as part of Headway’s campaign for Action for Brain Injury Week.

The ‘A life of lockdown?' campaign is taking place from May 17 to 23 to focus on social isolation after brain injury  — a problem that has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I had weekly Microsoft teams meetings around supporting and managing my fatigue and emotions and looking and understanding how it affected me physically, emotionally, and cognitively," he said.

"Things suddenly appeared to make sense as it is hard to understand why you feel the way you do as I felt okay within myself most of the time.

“I still walk and talk differently now. My eyes display when I am fatigued and the way I speak alters and I have a language disorder.

“My thought process slows down, but I fight it every step of the way, but to people who do not know the old Sam they would never know what I have been through.

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“Lockdown was hard looking at a screen three days a week as it affected my fatigue, so I am glad we are sort of getting back to normal.”

Sam and Claire Norris at Headway Suffolk’s Neuro Conference on May 12

Sam and Claire Norris at Headway Suffolk’s Neuro Conference on May 12 - Credit: Headway Suffolk

He was supported by his mum Claire and the Cambridge Centre for Paediatric Neuropsychological Rehabilitation (CCPNR) which offers rehabilitation for children with an acquired, non-progressive brain injury as a result of an accident, injury, illness or other condition.

After passing two of his exams, Sam is now studying motor mechanics at Cambridge Regional College and plans to move up to level 2 in September.

Both him and Claire gave the keynote speech at the Headway Suffolk Neuro Conference on May 12, headlined by England rugby legend Steve Thompson who spoke about his battle with early-onset dementia and CTE.

Sam and Claire Norris with Headway Suffolk CEO Helen Fairweather

Sam and Claire Norris with Headway Suffolk CEO Helen Fairweather - Credit: Headway Suffolk

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