Richard Hammond’s Wife Talks Of “Harrowing, Horrible” Time After Top Gear Crash
Richard Hammond’s wife, Mindy, has revealed that she had no idea that he was going to film the emotional video speaking about his horrendous Top Gear crash which left him in a coma in 2006.
Hammond released the video on the What Next? YouTube channel where he was hiking in the Lake District and sat by a tree overlooking Buttermere, all whilst emotionally reflecting on the scary moment in their life.
The Grand Tour host explains in the video that his wife’s screams pulled him out of the coma. Mindy has now spoken with the Sunday Express about how she didn’t know that he was going to release the video. She said:
“I knew he had been up there to do some filming, but he didn’t tell me he had done that . It was our daughter Izzy who saw it and told me about it. He probably forgot to tell me because he does that a lot! Immediately when he started talking I knew what was coming.”
“It was a harrowing, horrible time. The nurse had tried all these observations by prodding him and she was clearly getting nothing. And I remember saying to her ‘It’s bad, isn’t it?’ Because obviously things were going in the wrong direction, she started shouting ‘Richard, Richard’ at him. I said ‘Can I shout at him too?’
“I got really close to his face and shouted: ‘Richard, Richard, squeeze those bloody fingers. You’ve got to come back’. You are hysterical because you just know if you don’t get a response, the slide is starting. I was swearing at him. You would do anything.”
Mindy continued to say that after she had been screaming at him she felt a tiny movement in his fingers.
“And shortly after that he opened his eyes a fraction, as if he had briefly dipped his head over the parapet. I remember he looked at me for seconds, absolutely blank. He had no idea who I was.
“I went to the loo and absolutely sobbed because I thought ‘Where are you?’ I thought I actually don’t know what the outcome of this is going to be. I now know people come back from brain injury and look at their life and say ‘I don’t want this’. And look at their wife and think ‘I don’t want her either’! You just don’t know what you will get. I thought, ‘Is he ever going to know who I am’. That was hard.
“There was a funny moment though where he said ‘Oh you’re lovely but you are going to have to go because my wife is coming in a minute. You are lovely, but you’re not my wife. My wife is French!’”
Mindy explained that she tried to be positive about Richard’s future as soon as she saw him in the hospital for the first time after the crash.
“The minute I saw him when I first arrived at the hospital, even though he was plugged into everything and didn’t look very pretty, with a bulging eye and a lump in his forehead that made him look like a Klingon, I thought he would be alright.
“I thought if anyone is going to come back from this, he will because he’s an obstinate little whatsit. I had every faith.”
Hammond had an incredibly long recovery and suffered from post-traumatic amnesia and it wasn’t until a few months after he woke that they both spoke about his dream, which he explained in the What Next? video. Mindy said:
“He said ‘You were shouting at me’ and he knew he was in trouble because I don’t normally get cross. To hear me bellowing at him was really unusual and serious.
“He remembered me shouting and it was an easy route he was walking. It was really hard to ‘come back’. It’s clearly a tremendous effort. The only way he could explain it was imagine being paralysed and you are on your stomach and have to grip with your fingers and haul yourself through.
“I think that’s why when people are in comas and they talk about pulling back, that is literally what you are doing. It is pure grit and determination.”
Hammond wanted to release the video to show how important it is to keep talking to coma patients and to bring some comfort to anyone who is currently in that position with a loved one.
“I suppose it’s a kind of reassurance for him that he has dipped a toe – and went to his favourite place in the world. It’s to give comfort to anybody else, to say well you know I’ve kind of been there and it’s ok.
“And it shows that anybody in a serious condition can still hear you. It’s so important that you carry on communicating.”
Mindy went on to explain how quickly Richard went back to work after the accident.
“Normally somebody with a severe brain injury would go back to work very slowly. Telly is not like that.
“We kept him at home, quiet, for as long as possible but then he was starting to get stir-crazy and actually his doctor said this is counterproductive now, for him to feel he is getting better, he needs to go to work. He had to go back in and it was very much choreographed. Everyone knew you just had to be a bit careful and for him not to overdo it.
“He went on The Jonathan Ross Show and when we went back again about a year later, he couldn’t remember appearing on it. It was probably too soon, to be honest.”
“One thing Richard and I have always said is you shouldn’t define yourself by something awful that happens. You deal with it, get on and move forward. It’s really counterproductive to hang on to it.
“Mind you, his memory is bloomin’ appalling. You think is that the brain injury or is that just you?!”