Six great reads: life after brain injury

Reading person experiences can also support those close to a person with a brain injury, or those supporting them. Below is a round-up of NRC Medical Experts’ favourite about brain injury and rehabilitation.

Touching Distance by Beverley Turner and James Cracknell

This book tells of the story of rower James Cracknell, who, during an endurance challenge in Arizona, was knocked off his bike by the wing mirror of a petrol tanker, suffering severe frontal lobe damage. The doctors weren’t sure if he would recover and, if he did, whether he would ever be the same again.

“An inspirational, powerful account from an incredible bloke with guts and determination.” (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

Rebuilding Life after Brain Injury (After Brain Injury: Survivor Stories) by Sheena McDonald.

This book tells the story of journalist and broadcaster Sheena McDonald, who was hit by a police van in 1999 and suffered very severe brain injuries. This book is told from Sheena’s own perspective and also contains unique insights from her husband, Allan Little and neuropsychological rehabilitation specialist, Gail Robinson.

“It is near impossible for this book not to touch one’s heart. The writing is beautiful, powerful and passionate, and tells a story of tragedy, loss, forgiveness, love and hope.” – Dr Rudi Coetzer

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries: 101 Stories of Hope, Healing, and Hard Work by Amy Newmark.

Whether you are recovering from a traumatic brain injury or supporting someone with a TBI, this collection of 101 inspiring and encouraging stories by others like you will uplift and encourage you on your healing journey.

“Stories about surviving and thriving are of paramount importance. This book is inspiring and motivating.” – Lee Woodruff

Where Did I Go? Rediscovering My Identity, Lost After a Traumatic Brain Injury by Polly Williamson.

When former Champion eventer Polly Williamson sustained a traumatic brain injury in a horrific incident with a young horse, she was given a 33% chance of returning to life as a wife and mother. It severed her connection to her former self and for a long time it stole away her ability to care for her children. Polly was left struggling to relate to who she was.

“I couldn’t put it down.” – Amazon Reviewer

Ben Again: The inspirational memoir of a traumatic brain injury survivor by Ben Clench.

Ben was only 27 when he and his girlfriend, Jazz, were hit by a car while on holiday in the Dominican Republic. Jazz was killed instantly. Ben suffered a severe head injury which left him in a coma and at the mercy of hospital care in a developing country. During a month in intensive care he slowly emerged from the coma – with no memory and little physical control or ability. This book documents Ben’s recovery, in his own words.

“Ben Again is a remarkable story of one young man’s determination and courage…” Tony Ferguson

Everything is Broken: Life after a Traumatic Brain Injury by Jessica Stevens

In 2015, at just 25 years old, Jessica Stevens sustained a traumatic brain injury when she was involved in a severe road traffic accident just outside her house. Her family were later told: “everything is broken”, and that she would never recover. This inspirational book chronicles Jessica’s sheer grit, courage, and perseverance, resulting in her incredible rehabilitation and ongoing recovery.

“A well-paced, fast-flowing narrative that is at once harrowing but totally uplifting and awe-inspiring. It will show you the power of the human spirit when all hope is gone, and how much trauma the human body can survive.” – Filament Publishing


There are many more books out there which document the road to recovery from a brain injury. Reading people’s memoirs and other works about this topic can really shed light on the bravery and strength shown by those suffering from a brain injury.

Often a recovery is full of twists and turns and bumps in the road, but learning from others who have experienced this can give us hope and help us strive towards recovery.

Did we miss a great read? Let us know by sharing your recommendations with us on Twitter @rehabchambers.