Nottingham man Andy Southey was left with debilitating symptoms after sustaining a brain injury during a half marathon. Now he is bravely returning to the same event, this time in aid of Headway – the brain injury association.
"I can't believe I'm saying this but, despite all the hurt and trauma, I'm rerunning the Robin Hood Half Marathon again,” said Andy.
There are trauma triggers left, right and centre, but I want to write a new story. It's time to face my fears.
In September 2019, Andy Southey was happily running the Robin Hood Half Marathon when things suddenly took a turn for the worse.
The 31-year-old recalled: "With three miles to go and feeling great, I glanced down at my watch; that's the last thing I remember.
"The next thing I recall was lying in the back of an ambulance going in and out of consciousness. I had blacked out and suffered a concussion that a doctor wouldn't diagnose until two weeks too late. Due to the late diagnosis, I suffered from post-concussion syndrome, a dark chapter in my life."
Although concussion is sometimes described as a 'mild traumatic brain injury' – and, for most people, concussion symptoms will resolve themselves in a few days or weeks - some people, like Andy, may go on to struggle in the aftermath.
Post-concussion syndrome can include symptoms such as nausea, headaches, dizziness and impaired concentration. It can also lead to anxiety and depression.
"At my worst, I couldn't walk properly, dress or even wash myself. I couldn't finish simple sentences, do basic maths or even, at times, remember how old I was,” said Andy.
“I was perpetually fatigued, had constant headaches and slept for large parts of the day.”
Following his brain injury, it took Andy three months to return to work and six months to be able to work full-time.
"However, even after being back at work, the ongoing physical recovery would take longer, and the mental impact is still a journey I'm on today," he said.
“I want to do the run to raise awareness around concussions and raise funds for Headway – the brain injury association, which is doing fantastic work improving lives after brain injuries.
This time I'm calling it 'the Headway Half.'
However, Andy won't be doing it alone. He will be running with his brother Dave Southey and friend Matt 'Tommo' Thompson. There will also be a Headway cheering squad around mile 1 (along London Road, NG2 3BS, if you’d like to join us!). We can’t wait to offer our support on the day and are extremely proud of Andy, for his recovery, raising awareness, and facing this race again.
Andy has also done an incredible job of sharing his story and raising awareness of concussion and brain injury by posting on social media, talking on the radio and even appearing in a TV feature.
To support Andy's fundraiser for Headway, visit his JustGiving page.
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