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Posts Tagged: Moss

Hammond Meets Moss

Tuesday 8th June 2010

I watched an absolutely fascinating programme the other day. It was “Hammond Meets Moss“, and you can perhaps guess the basis of the show from the title. Basically it’s Richard Hammond meeting Sir Stirling Moss. Duh.

These two men have had pretty different careers. One was a top-flight racing driver, the other is a TV presenter. But they have one thing in common: they have both suffered major brain injuries. You will probably know about Hammond’s injury, after he crashed a jet car at 300mph in 2006. Moss had a career-ending accident in an F1 race at Goodwood in the 60s, when he veered off the circuit and crashed into an embankment at 110mph (the car wasn’t fitted with seatbelts, so his head hit the steering wheel). Different accidents, but the effects were similar.

Incidentally I loved Moss’s reaction to seeing Hammond’s crash: “Rather you than me, old boy”.

Moss also talks about the racing driver “mindset”, which sort of follows on from the interview I mentioned recently. But it’s fascinating hearing about how their accidents affected them, and how they recovered (or are recovering, it seems). To me this sort of injury is one of the scariest things that can happen. Even the most hideous injuries to other parts of your body only affect that thing; if you’re in an accident and you break your legs, then it means you can’t walk for a bit and it’s incredibly inconvenient. But if you suffer a brain injury, that’s you. Your brain is obviously where your personality comes from, and where your memories and whatnot are stored. The idea of having an accident that can fundamentally change who you are is a pretty terrifying one.

I know I mention lots of motorsport-related things and say “you should definitely watch this”, and I’m sure most people don’t. But this time you really, really should. The documentary isn’t merely about racing, it’s about brain injury and the effects thereof. It’s not a pleasant subject by any means, but I think this is genuinely fascinating.

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