I was going to say I have become an expert in concussion – but that would be stretching it a bit. But if you get a concussion, and it involves being off work for nine months, you do get more interested. How the hell did it happen? The short answer is I don’t know. I woke up in St Luke’s Hospital, just north of Central Park. People were cutting my clothes off. I was in no pain, and immediately realised I’d had some kind of accident. The nurse asked me my name – managed that – my age – managed that – and then the year. Hmmm. Was it 2011? Like a good boy not wanting to get it wrong, I chose not to answer.
I heard her say I had “come down hard on a corner” and that’s mostly what I know. I was probably cycling down the loop road, past the Lasker Pool at the top of the Park. My bike must have slid over – rapidly – my shoulder and elbow were grazed – and the main impact was on my right forehead – my helmet was cracked and slightly crushed at that point. (The helmet being cracked is good – it’s supposed to do that – to distribute the impact.) I got my medical records later. No one else was involved. I was on a corner. I was unconscious for up to a minute. I can’t remember anything from five minutes before the accident to thirty minutes after – although apparently I was conversing with people, although in a strange, persistent way. (This kind of amnesia is common as well – yes, strange that you can’t remember BEFORE the accident – but as I said, not unusual.)
I saw this video from the Tour de France – while this cyclist is on the level, notice how his back wheel slides out on the road marking – and notice how he hits his right forehead. I must have done something similar: