We were joined by a special guest at our June coffee morning as TeamGB Paraclimber Dave Bowes came to give us a talk about his life with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and how he’s now on the path to recovery following a motorbike accident nine years ago.
Dave was deemed to only have mild concussion following his accident and it took nearly five years for him to be properly diagnosed with a TBI. During that time he read as much as he could about brain injuries and what could aid recovery. Along with experiencing physical and cognitive difficulties such as lack of concentration, fatigue and constant migraines, Dave felt as if his whole personality had changed. Recently married and suddenly no longer able to work (he had up until the point of the accident had a successful career in the financial sector), he felt very frustrated.
Climbing was something that Dave had been involved in as a hobby before his accident and he found that it was one of the few things he could still do, so he started climbing again nine months after his motorbike crash. Dave found that it not only helped to strengthen his muscles, but reduced his anxiety as well. It was more than six years before he was able to cope with life in general and eventually his climbing hobby led to him deciding to climb competitively in order to raise awareness of hidden brain injuries. It took a while but he now competes on two GB teams: one for paraclimbers and one for able-bodied climbers, which is a remarkable achievement. He’s now the British champion, 2nd in Europe and 4th in the world ranking!
Dave uses his time outside of climbing to promote awareness of TBI and the invisible nature of the condition. His talk at our coffee morning was very well received with lots of people staying to chat to him afterwards. A big thank you to Dave for interrupting his busy training schedule to come and visit us!