Londoners’ experiences of life-changing injuries

Joe

Male
Age at interview: 53

Brief outline: Joe was driving home after a gig when another vehicle crashed into his. He spent four days in a coma and was then diagnosed with a brain injury.

Background: Joe used to be a drummer playing in various bands. He is separated from his partner and has four children. He lives alone. Ethnic background' Black/British.

Audio & video

Joe sustained his brain injury in a road traffic collision with another vehicle. His injury affected his memory, vision, hearing and coordination. Before the accident he was working as a drummer playing in bands and making recordings. After his accident his coordination prevented him from playing as well as he used to so he decided to “call it a day”. Subsequently, he has retrained to work with digital media although he has been unable to find a job in this area. 
 
After his brain injury, Joe was helped by an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist who comes to the Headway group he attends. 
Using his mobile phone and the internet helps Joe to remember things. He also relies on family, friends and support workers to send him reminders when he has something to do. 
 
Joe receives Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). His family and friends have been supportive of him and always ensure that he “never actually went to bed without dinner”.
 
On Sundays Joe goes to church where he “deals with the music, the sound equipment and some of the media”. He looks forward to this because he “can do things that others are not able to do”.
 
Since his injury, Joe does not like to be in crowded places or travelling to tube stations that have lots of steep stairs. He carefully plans his journeys and uses stations he knows. 
 
His message to other people who have been recently injured is' “Don’t just give up”. He thinks it is important for health professionals to show patients they are not worthless or useless. This is important for helping them “get back on the road to some form of recovery”. 

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