Norfolk father-of-two’s brain injury left him forgetting his former self

Chris Clark had been working as a carpenter in London when he was struck over the back of the head a

Chris Clark had been working as a carpenter in London when he was struck over the back of the head and knocked unconscious. Photo: Mustard TV - Credit: Archant

A father-of-two has described how an unprovoked attack 15 years ago resulted in him forgetting who he once was.

Headway, Norfolk and Waveney's Brain injury charity hold an art exhibition called 'A New Me' for Act

Headway, Norfolk and Waveney's Brain injury charity hold an art exhibition called 'A New Me' for Action for brain inury week 2017. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Chris Clark had been working as a carpenter in London when he was struck over the back of the head and knocked unconscious.

The attack, on February 24, 2002, left him with substantial brain damage. And after two weeks, the decision was taken to turn off his life support.

Miraculously, the 49-year-old, who lives in Norfolk, survived. But when he regained consciousness, he had become a different person.

'With my brain injury I lost myself and this was an enormous pressure,' Mr Clark said. 'Trying to be somebody you are not and guessing at it.

Headway, Norfolk and Waveney's Brain injury charity hold an art exhibition called 'A New Me' for Act

Headway, Norfolk and Waveney's Brain injury charity hold an art exhibition called 'A New Me' for Action for brain inury week 2017. Headway client, Ian Duffy with his daughter Alice Duffy. - Credit: Nick Butcher


You may also want to watch:


'My friends and my family talked about the old Chris and how they loved him, but I didn't even know him.'

Mr Clark is one of many brain injury survivors who say they feel like a different person following their recovery.

Most Read

He shared his story yesterday following the launch of new campaign aimed at highlighting the hidden affects of an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).

Headway Norfolk and Waveney's 'A New Me' initiative aims to give a voice to those affected by an ABI.

Its research found that of more than 860 respondents, around 74pc said they felt like a new person after their brain injury.

Mr Clark, who now works as the charity's service manager for its Norwich centre, said he spent two years struggling to come to terms with his injury.

But that all changed when he was referred to Headway.

'My confidence was shot and I was continually putting myself under so much pressure to get back to the way I was,' he said.

'I started to learn that I was in fact grieving, grieving for the old Chris.

'This was an important turning point as I then began to accept the fact that this person was gone. It is only when you start accepting that you can begin to move on.'

The charity hopes that the findings of its study will help increase understanding of brain injury amongst the public.

It has also opened a shop unit at Castle Mall in Norwich this week, showcasing the artwork of its members.

For more information about the study, visit www.ANewMe.org.uk

To learn more about Headway, visit www.headway-nw.org.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter