Lucky to be alive: Ripon woman speaks out about her recovery after devastating car crash

Lauren Walkington
Lauren Walkington

A Ripon woman who feels “lucky to be alive” after a devastating car crash two years ago, is speaking out about her journey to recovery in a week of awareness for brain injuries.

Lauren Walkington, 21, suffered traumatic brain injury, a fracture and dislocation of her left knee and bruising to the chest in an accident on the A168 in September 2016.

The impact proved so severe that Lauren needed to be removed from her car by the fire service.

She was sedated and ventilated at the scene and had to be transferred to Leeds General Infirmary by air ambulance. She was only able to return home to her parents’ care around two months on from the incident.

Now, to mark the Action for Brain Injury campaign week organised by brain charity Headway, Lauren is speaking out about how she is continuing to work on her recovery and rehabilitation.

Looking back on her journey, Lauren, who is a member of Headway’s Harrogate group, said: “Although I truly feel lucky to be alive, the crash has affected my life in a huge number of ways.

“My injuries mean I suffer from a range of problems with my memory, fatigue and mood among other things.

“I’ve also been left frustrated by the fact I’ve been unable to return to my business and marketing management studies at university since the crash. And it’s been difficult on my friendships.

“I am now more reliant on my family, and it has been hard to lose my independence. However, while nothing will change what I have been through, I remain confident that with the help of Headway and solicitors Irwin Mitchell that I will be able to push forward with my rehabilitation and put the crash behind me.

“I am determined to still get the very best from life and get back to being my confident and independent self.”

Lauren was in intensive care for three weeks after the crash, before being transferred to the high dependency unit at the Leeds General Infirmary.

She was initially unable to take a normal diet due to problems with swallowing. By October 2016 she had been transferred to the Lascelles neuro rehabilitation unit at Harrogate Hospital,

where she received inpatient therapy, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

During this time, she learnt to walk again after suffering from severe right sided weakness from her injuries.

Lauren then had trial periods at home under the care of her family before being discharged in November. She has continued to attend hospital as an outpatient ever since.