ONE Pro Cycling’s Sam Williams, has joined forces with Headway Worcestershire by becoming the new ambassador for the charity’s latest campaign, SafeHeads.
The Worcester-based organisation that improves life after acquired brain injury is now focusing on educating young students on the importance of wearing cycling helmets during leisure activities, particularly cycling to and from school.
Through their campaign, Headway Worcestershire hopes to appeal local schools to take the pledge and encourage them to actively advocate pro-use of cycling helmets.
Julia Protesaru, Marketing manager at Headway Worcestershire said, “We feel that it is important to share Sam’s story as it demonstrates the point of SafeHeads. We acknowledge that some people argue that wearing a helmet might entice drivers to leave less space when overtaking a cyclist. However we it’s not always cars on the roads that cause accidents involving cyclists. The weather, the road itself, nature and other causes that have nothing to do with people can turn someone’s world upside down entirely.”
Sam Williams, suffered a mild traumatic brain injury in the form of a concussion after an accident whilst out training on Clee Hill in July 2015. Williams remembers the two things that saved his life that day: his helmet and his friend.
In an interview, Williams offered some shocking insights into his accident story. According to Headway, brain injuries cause the highest rate of disability in young people. “Sam was lucky enough not to be left with any further damage after his accident. However there are over 1000 new people in Worcestershire every year who will suffer long term effects of an acquired brain injury” continued Julia.
Sam starts: “I was going down a hill… a sheep ran into the road and it didn’t see me. I hit it head-on and went over the front end [of the bike], landed on my face and my head and woke up in hospital a fair few hours later.”
Luckily, I was training with a friend; he pulled me out of a really, really fast road that was on a blind bend. He thought I was dead. I was faced down in a big pool of blood. He dragged me out of the road and I honestly think he saved my life doing that. He phoned an ambulance. They took me to hospital and I woke up a fair few hours later. They nearly put me into a coma because I had a lot of swelling around my brain but, fortunately I managed to come round and woke up.
I remember waking up and seeing loads of doctors around me. I knew I’d hit something but I can’t remember what it was. I just knew I’d hit something.
“I didn’t know anything about concussion or anything like that. I never suffered with concussion before, so because I didn’t break any limbs, I thought I was actually alright.”
Two weeks later Sam Williams was in Poland completing a week-long race. Although his face was still healing, he assumed it was the only after-effect to deal with after the accident. “I did feel tired all the time but I thought it was because of the racing.”
“It was about a month later [after the incident]. All of a sudden I just couldn’t sleep and I was having really bad insomnia. I was going on for days without sleeping and I was trying to race at the same time and it was just really stressful. “
“I didn’t know it had to do with my concussion. I didn’t tell anyone at first. I thought it was just me. I thought I was going through a bit of a weird part and I found it quite embarrassing; telling people I can’t sleep makes it feel like I’m making excuses.”
Head Sports Director at ONE Pro Cycling Matt Winston said “It’s great that Sam is an ambassador for Headway, rider safety is paramount in ONE Pro Cycling. I remember Sam being involved in the accident whilst out training and it was a worrying time for all involved. We encourage all our athletes to use helmets whilst on the team as they really can make the difference. I feel Sam will be a perfect ambassador for Headway.”