I know that snow covered mountains are beautiful and, yes, exciting too but I’ve never been tempted to go skiing. I’m even less tempted by those perilously dangerous mountain slopes now as we wait for news about racing driver Michael Schumacher who has sustained life-threatening brain injuries after skiing into a rock at speed.
In Michael Schumacher’s case, I can understand his need for speed. It must be tough retiring from motor racing and having to join the rest of us who move at ordinary everyday snail pace. I have never been a very good driver so I was never going to be a racing driver but I do know the excitement of speed. I’m not going to be a skier as I have never been up in the European Alps without feeling a dizzy mixture of elation and vertigo. The whole experience is made worse for me when the mountains are covered in the white stuff – I find snow undeniably pretty but also claustrophobic. I also think that, after a while, I’d rather see the countryside that it is hiding from view. So skiing holidays, even if they were accident-free, have never been my thing.
It’s been fascinating and horrifying to watch those press conferences from Grenoble Hospital where the doctors have been extraordinarily detailed about Herr Schumacher’s condition. I’m not sure I would want all my medical history worn so fully in public but these doctors are obviously very impressive and caring. It must be good to know that such expertise is on hand so near to the most popular of the French Alps skiing resorts. It must give potential holiday makers pause for thought though to know that they are off for fun in a leisure activity that has a team of brain surgeons waiting down the road in case of an accident. As we now know, life threatening head injuries are a common side effect of skiing accidents.
As a Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor myself, I’ve listened to those medical reports with feelings of déjà vu and sympathy. I know only too well that if Michael Schumacher does survive his injuries then recovery will be unpredictable, long and difficult. I wish him luck (and, today, poignantly, a Happy 45th Birthday) and I wish luck to anyone else who’s thinking of going skiing for fun.
My novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, was published on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.
It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region’s Amazon site for Kindle orders)
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