Richard Hammond, released from hospital, describes crash and recovery

Defying all the odds, we're glad to report that Top Gear host Richard Hammond has been released from the hospital and is recovering with his family at an undisclosed private location. Despite the very serious nature of his crash and the potential brain damage incurred, Richard's doctors all expect him to make a 100% full and complete recovery.

For those joining the saga a little late, "the Hamster", as he's affectionately known, was filming a segment for the popular BBC television program Top Gear, driving a record-setting jet-powered dragster when it blew out a tire at 288 mph, sending the car, with Richard in it, flipping endlessly through a field. Hammond was rescued from the overturned jet-car with his head plowed into the dirt, barely responsive. He was airlifted to an emergency hospital in Leeds before being moved out of intensive care to another hospital in Bristol.

Now speeding down the fast lane to recovery, Richard has given personal accounts to the Mirror, a British newspaper for which he writes a regular column. In four separate articles, Richard describes the crash, his hospitalization, the effects on his family and the things that have helped him recover. Click the Read link to see what the Hamster has to say about his ordeal and recovery.

[Source: The Mirror]

Contradicting earlier reports, Richard was not actually attempting to break the land speed record, just to drive the car. His job, as he describes it, was to successfully pilot the dragster with the afterburners lit and describe the experience to the public. While two separate safety investigations are underway, Hammond insists every precaution was taken and that he had been fully confident that the session would pass without incident. His safety helmet was taken back to the factory after what essentially constituted the highest-speed crash test ever undertaken on the equipment, though Richard says he wants it back as a memento for what he calls "the day I died"...or quite nearly.

Hammond describes the road to recovery as having been especially brutal at times. He initially lost nearly all his memory: "Basically", Hammond recalls, "I was mad as a bag of snakes." He lost all short-term memory, had an infuriatingly difficult time focusing on any thoughts whatsoever, and broke down in tears at several points. Richard's doctors initially feared he would be paralyzed down half his body and lose eyesight out of one eye; they thought they'd have to drill a hole in his skull to drain blood in case of massive hemorrhaging and bleeding; and they feared he'd never fully recover from the brain damage, but in the end, miraculously, Richard required no surgery whatsoever and is, in typical fashion, making record time in confounding everyone's expectations.

Richard partially attributes his recovery to obsessively playing with Legos and memory-card games. He couldn't remember his name, didn't know what he'd ordered for lunch and could hardly recall why he was there in the first place, but he knew how fast a Pagani Zonda could go. Sounds like the Richard we know and love.

Read more: (The Mirror)

Related posts: (Autoblog)

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