Richard Hammond has reflected on his infamous 2006 crash that left him in a coma, in a newly released emotional video on the What Next YouTube channel.
The video is stripped back and is simply Hammond speaking about the horrendous time whilst he is hiking in the Lake District. The crash happened whilst driving a jet-powered dragster for Top Gear in 2006 and was going 319 mph at the time.
The Grand Tour host introduced the video, saying:
“This is a personal story about places, about going places in your mind and I suppose about the power of, well, Daydreams. Yeah, Daydreams.
“A long time ago I was in a coma with a brain injury as a result of a particularly flamboyant crash involving a certain jet power dragster. In hospital, intensive care, things apparently not looking very good but I didn’t know that, there was a lot of morphine flowing around my system and I finally woke and I shared with my wife, Mindy, a dream. I’d been having a really really really vivid one, probably partly on the account of the morphine.”
Hammond went on to explain the dream that he was having whilst he was in intensive care in the hospital. He explained that he was walking hills in his dream, the same hills that he was doing whilst in the video.
“In my mind I’d been walking these hills here in the Lake District overlooking Buttermere. I was having a lovely time strolling along, and gradually I got a growing sense of…you know when you’re in trouble?
“When you’re a teenager staying out just that bit too late, you’re not definitely in massive trouble yet, but you’re in a bit of trouble, that feeling grew and grew.
“I walked up that slope to where I am now towards this exact tree and as I got closer and closer to that tree, that sense of oh, I really am in trouble, I’m going to be shouted at, I’m going to be in a lot of trouble, grew and grew until eventually in my dream I turned back. I didn’t walk around this tree and carry on and then I woke.”
The presenter continued to explain what was happening at the same time for his wife, Mindy.
“She was told ‘It’s not looking good, we think we are going to lose him’ and she said ‘Is there anything I can do?’ They said no, not really and then she said ‘Can I shout at him? Like really, really shout at him?’ And she did. Apparently she roared and screamed and swore at me and said don’t you dare die and that’s when I turned back from this tree in my dream.
“It’s true. I mean I didn’t really come up and walk around this tree, I was in a coma in Leeds, but my mind did and my mind is who I am and I know that very well having damaged it and recovering for a long time. I’ve taken huge solace from that ever since, because that was my last thought, certainly at the time.
Finishing off the video on a particularly emotional moment, Hammond explained that he knows that this is where his mind will end up when his time does come.
“I’m not scared of this old tree, I pass it regularly when most months at some point I’ll come up here and walk and every time I pass it, I do feel comforted and I know it’s where I’ll go. It’s still here and I’m still here, but it does speak of the importance of place and the joy of being connected with a place and I know this is very very genuinely where I am and where one day I will be, and that one day I will walk around this tree, and it’s nice to know where it is.”