In 2014 I fell off of my bike and fractured my skull, resulting in a ‘traumatic brain injury’. As I waited on the CAT scan bed to be rolled into the machine, I was asked if I wished to take part in an international drug trial that was studying the effects of a particular drug on bleeds on the brain. As I had no other bruises on my body (having broken the fall with my head – no, I wasn’t wearing a helmet, but I always wear one now!), I was therefore an excellent candidate for the trial, called the CRASH-3 study.
The CRASH-3 Trial by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) was a worldwide clinical trial of 12,000+ people to see if a drug called tranexamic acid could reduce deaths from traumatic brain injury (TBI). Around 69 million people are estimated to experience a TBI worldwide each year.
CRASH-3 provides evidence that a low-cost drug could prevent deaths from TBI by as much as 20% depending on severity of the injury.
Tranexamic acid (TXA) is most effective in mild-moderate head injuries but shows no clear impact in severely injured patients. It’s also safe to give and is most effective the earlier it is given. If TXA is given to all TBI patients immediately after injury, it could prevent tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths around the globe each year.
I was lucky. I may have had the drug, or I may have had the placebo. Either way, just being a part of this world-wide study provided hope and I’m convinced aided in my recovery.
Five years on the results of the study have been published in The Lancet
In 2020, following my participation in the CRASH-3 study, I was commissioned by the LSHTM to produce a sculpture that conveyed my experience of receiving a brain injury. I have completed the sculpture in clay, and it is now in the kiln. Once fired, I will add elements to it, and the sculpture will be finished and ready for installation after 1 April 2021.
As part of my recovery, I produced a pop up art piece on the site where the accident occurred. The popup was a Thank You to the passersby who came to my aid, comforted me, and phoned for an ambulance.
Location: cycle path
Bonn Square, Oxford