Michael is one of our amazing members that has taken on the challenge of riding in the Taupo Cycle Challenge in an effort to raise funds for Brain Injury Hawke’s Bay. This is his story ….
Brain injury has impacted significantly on individuals within our family and affected our family as a whole. I guess you could say we are more ‘brain injury aware’ than the average family.
A member of our family sustained a life changing brain injury seven years ago while training for the very event I am now undertaking, The Taupo Cycle Challenge. Despite wearing a helmet the effects of this injury have been permanent and severe. Almost a full year was spent at a specialised Acute Brain Injury unit learning to best deal with the changes following the injury. Although one of the main symptoms has been memory loss, other effects have been extremely debilitating and affect daily life. A generalised neural fatigue ensures that lots of sleep and adequate rest are necessary to reduce symptoms. Reduced concentration, intolerance to noise and severe frequent headaches are constant frustrating reminders of his injury. This has in turn affected energy levels, personal relationships and employment opportunities.
We are so proud that despite the challenges following his brain injury he lives independently, cares for his children and maintains his sense of humour despite frustrating challenges in his day to day life.
One of our children sustained a number of concussions, the last one playing rugby while at intermediate. As parents we decided (much to his upset as he loved the game) that rugby was no longer a sport he could pursue due to the potential risk of further head injuries. Although he was not hospitalised and his injuries were not seen as severe he also developed memory loss, poor concentration, difficulty with loud noises, frequent headaches and mood disturbances. This has been quite a challenge for our child and our family. Although thankfully we are now some years down the track and the effects have reduced over time the effects from repetitive concussion were significant and stressful.
It will give me great pleasure to contribute to such a worthwhile cause such as Brain Injury Hawke’s Bay and take this lovely Italian bicycle around the picturesque Lake Taupo for a spin (as was intended 7 years ago).