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James Cracknell brain damaged in horror crash, wife Beverley Turner reveals


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James Cracknell brain damaged in horror crash, wife Beverley Turner reveals



By Jody Thompson

Last updated at 5:11 PM on 28th July 2010





James Cracknell's wife Beverley Turner has revealed he was brain damaged in his horrific cycling accident last week.


The Olympic rowing champion could take six months to recover from his injuries after fracturing his skill when the truck ploughed into him as he cycled across America.


He is currently semi-conscious in a neuro-trauma recovery ward - and at first, Beverley said she feared doctors would have to turn off his life-support machine.

article-1298317-0A88831A000005DC-237_468x719.jpg Golden couple: TV and radio presenter Beverley Turner with her husband James Cracknell at the Bafta television awards earlier this month



The TV presenter said her athlete partner's incredible fitness had helped pull him back from the brink.

'I'd spent years worrying that James would plunge down a crevasse in some remote wilderness, but it was a road traffic accident in the US that has left him with a fractured skull and damage to his brain,' she told the Telegraph.


She explained he had suffered a 'contrecoup' injury to his frontal lobe, with bleeding and swelling affecting the part that controls personality, decision-making and motivation.


Beverley said however that James' prognosis was 'good', and by six months, he should be back to his old self.

'Only those closest to him may be able to tell a subtle difference,' she added.


The couple have two children Croyde, six, and Kiki, 16 months.


article-1298317-0A88C9F4000005DC-574_468x312.jpg Dynamic duo: Ben Fogle and James Cracknell were in Phoenix, Arizona, filming for the Discovery Channel, when the accident happened


Cracknell was being filmed tackling an endurance challenge in Arizona by the Discovery Channel when the horror crash happened last week.

It's believed his cycling helmet saved his life. A report in Cycling Weekly quotes his wife as saying: 'I was told that although he fractured his skull at the back, the brain injury is at the front, where his brain was catapulted forward as his helmet hit the road at high speed.'


Cracknell was five days into a 16-day challenge to cycle, run and row 3,000 miles from Los Angeles to New York.

The 38-year-old had covered 400 miles when the crash occurred.

Cracknell's friend Ben Fogle, who's previously rowed the Atlantic with him in 2005 and skied to the South Pole with him in 2009, was also attempting the challenge.


article-1298317-03CF83040000044D-235_468x305.jpg Awesome oarsmen: Ben Fogle and his Olympian friend were the first two-man team ever to complete the Atlantic Rowing Race back in 2006


He said afterwards: 'Luckily he was wearing a helmet. I know how driven and determined he is. If anyone is going to bounce back, it will be James.'

The resulting documentary on their endurance attempt was meant to go out in August, but the Discovery Channel has now put it on hold.


He was also due to attempt to set a new world record cycling from Canada to Mexico for a BBC series next month, but that project too is now on ice.


Beverley, who was following Cracknell at the time of the crash in one of the filming vehicles, has only reluctantly supported her husband's risky adventures since he retired from rowing.

Cracknell is one of Britain’s most successful athletes of all time, with two Olympic Golds and six World Championship titles.

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