Londoners’ experiences of life-changing injuries


Age at interview: 29

Brief outline: Sam was injured in a collision with a lorry whilst cycling through London. His spinal cord was damaged and, as a result, he now uses a wheelchair.

Background: Sam works as a strategist for an advertising company. He is single. His ethnic background is Caucasian.

Audio & video

Audio onlyText only
Read below

Sam sustained a spinal cord injury when he was run over by a lorry. He can’t remember exactly what happened; the CCTV cameras in the area did not capture the accident and witnesses disagreed on what they saw. The local Rapid Response team resuscitated him at the scene and took him to hospital where he was in a coma for two weeks. Sam felt the doctors who operated to set his back did not do it correctly, so he had to "fight really hard to get them to re-break! it.
In his recovery, Sam set himself goals. These included learning to drive and coming off the strong painkillers he was taking in order to successfully return to work. He describes feeling “terrible”, his stomach was “messed up for a while” and he was in a lot of pain. He did succeed and has returned to work full-time. He loves driving and was able to get a modified car through Motability. 
Sam said initially he “was a bit reluctant to get involved in the disabled community”, but a friend he met in rehab helped him to come to terms with his changed life. They teased each other about their injuries, which Sam felt was healthy because “you need to be able to confront that stuff...You can’t have taboo things that you don’t want people to talk about”. 
Sam’s message to other people who have recently been injured is that “all the things you’re doing which are hard will get easier”. He also stresses the importance of finding out “everything about what’s happened to you and what the options are”. He says, “Just do everything you can to get back in control”.



Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to

Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email