Weathergirl tells of accident horror
TELEVISION weathergirl Becky Mantin has told how a surfing accident left her “trapped in a prison of pain”.
The 29-year-old ITV presenter, who grew up in Norfolk and began her career at Anglia TV, was hit on the head during a freak surfing accident three years ago in Devon.
It left her in almost constant pain and with complications to this day.
In May 2007, Becky went to Croyde Bay, in north Devon, for a surfing holiday with a friend. All went well until the penultimate day of their stay in the West Country.
“I had surfed before in Australia and, although I wasn’t an expert, I enjoyed it enormously,” she told a national newspaper.
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But the breakers that roll in off the Atlantic were busy that day with surfers – including a man with a new board he was barely in control of.
Becky fell from her board into the sea, the novice hit her square on the back of her head.
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“I can still hear the grind of my teeth smacking together,” she said. “I don’t remember much after that.”
Lifeguards rushed to help as blood began pouring from Becky’s wound. Doctors at Barnstaple Hospital said she was suffering concussion. Her friend drove her to her parents’ house in Norfolk. Suspected bleeding on the brain kept Becky in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for three weeks. She suffered agonising migraines and bouts of paralysis.
“I can only describe it as like being trapped in a prison of pain,” she said. “I couldn’t eat, walk, could barely talk and, although I craved comfort and company, even the rustle of a plastic bag made me wince with pain.”
Doctors said the blow on the head had bruised her brain and damaged nerves. With intravenous painkillers, her condition began to improve. Determined to return to work, she discharged herself from hospital.
“I managed about 10 weeks before I finally admitted defeat,” said Becky. “By this time, two stones lighter, unable to eat and desperately depressed, I had given it everything I had, but ultimately I just needed a break.”
It took another three months’ rest before she could return to work part-time.
Well-enough to undertake a long-awaited sailing trip, she met her future husband Jack Heald, a rugby coach, with whom she is now expecting her first baby.
“My memory is less sharp and I often get very tired,” she said. “Physically, though, I am more determined than ever to prove to myself that my body is strong.”