Team GB hockey captain still recovering 10 months after freak brain injury in Kenya

Alex Danson in Kenya
Alex Danson and her fiance Alex in Watamu, Kenya. Photo: Twitter/AlexDanson15

Team GB hockey captain Alex Danson reveals details about freak accident in Kenya which ended her playing career

Alex Danson, Team GB’s hockey captain, has revealed how a freak brain injury, inflicted during a holiday in Watamu, has left her playing career in limbo.

Following last year’s Hockey World Cup, the team captain and her boyfriend, also called Alex, booked a trip to Kenya.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Alex said: “One evening when they we were out for dinner and there was a brick wall behind where I was sitting, about head height. I was leaning back with the back of my neck on the wall. Alex made a joke and, without thinking, I flung my head forward and back in laughter and cracked it flush on top of the wall. I knew immediately something wasn’t right. It hurt, but more than anything it was how hard it sounded, like a thud. We looked at each other and giggled nervously.”

With typical athlete mentality, Alex convinced herself she was fine and went training as usual the following day but when she returned to her room, she felt like it was spinning and realising she was concussed decided to take it easy for the rest of the holiday.

For four weeks after returning home, all she could do was lie in a room, unable to handle light or sound and wearing eye patches and ear plugs.

GB Hockey sent her to see a concussion specialist in Birmingham where she had cognitive tests but they said she’d be fine in a few weeks. Alex continued to train but her condition wasn’t improving and after returning home from training one day threw up and passed out. After contacting her doctor when she regained consciousness, he told her she had to go to hospital immediately. 

After having a seizure while seeing the triage nurse, she was rushed straight through and had a CT scan which was clear. The following day she had MRI and MRA scans which were also clear. She was then sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for a lumbar puncture and CTA scan but after nothing was found she was sent home and told she would get better, but ten months on and she’s still recovering.

Alex now goes to the Hobbs neurological rehabilitation centre in Winchester once a week and avoids eating foods such as sweetcorn that cause inflammation.

She has also praised her partner Alex for the support he has given her. He proposed after she hit her head and the couple are planning to get gmarried this September.

To read the full story, please check out the Times website (£).

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