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Hammond meets Moss and they discuss cheating death

Submitted by on June 20, 2010

Check this little teaser video: Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond and motor racing legend Sir Stirling Moss share the same life-altering experience – they had their lives changed forever by terrible car accidents.

The pair recovered quickly from their respective physical injuries, but the acquired brain injuries of those major impacts meant their minds took much longer to heal. But why should brain tissue take so much longer to repair itself than skin and bone and what kind of trauma does the organ go through when trying to ‘re-boot’ itself?

Here is a bit more detail from the Stirling Moss website

“Stirling Moss and TV’s Richard Hammond have both cheated death in the most spectacular of fashions. Now the pair have teamed up for a new BBC documentary talking openly about the horrors of their respective crashes, giving an insight into the complex and often staggering ways in which the brain repairs itself after a traumatic experience.

Aptly named, ‘Hammond Meets Moss’, the programme includes footage of both crashes with the pair speaking openly and candidly about their rehabilitation. It also looks at Stirling’s career and examines why his brain made him so successful, and once injured, finished his professional career so abruptly.

Hammond said: “It’s a really interesting way to look at how the mind works by looking at what happens when it’s gone wrong. It’s to do with the process of re-connecting and re-learning things”.

Stirling’s accident at Goodwood in 1962 removed him from the top flight of motorsport that he loved so much, and despite eventually making a full recovery, he chose never to race at that level again. As Stirling said, during a poignant piece in the programme, “I felt lost”, for him the difference following the crash was that “instead of doing things automatically, as I always had, I had to think my way around the track”.

This all-important edge for the professional racing driver, between the brain’s automatic and conscious processes, is the key message of the show.

Hammond’s own brush with death came in 2006 following a 288mph crash in a jet powered Vampire dragster for the show, Top Gear. He spent two days in a coma and woke up utterly confused. “Your perception of everything goes on in your head,” he said. “I lost the ability to cope with nerves and I was in a terrible mess”.

The show is harrowing at times, at others funny, and features interviews with Professor Sid Watkins, leading neurosurgeons as well as with Hammond’s wife Mindy and for the first time ever, an interview with Val Pirie, Stirling’s PA known as “Viper”, who looked after him following his accident. Throughout the programme there is a serious scientific message, with head injuries effecting more than 1 million people in the United Kingdom, that the pair’s experiences with this form of trauma bring to life.”

Via: TheChicaneBlog.com

Looks like we will have to wait for a DVD to view the documentary.

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