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This video is an interview with Andy Crow. The purpose of this video is to practice your active listening. 

I am going to give you an opportunity now to practise your active listening. You are going to hear an interview with my co-trainer, Andy Crowe, and I want you to think about all of the things we have talked about. So turn down your distractions, just listen very carefully to what Andy has to say. You go and get a pen and paper now and you can write down everything you think is important.

Hi, Andy.


We are here to talk about your lived experience and you are going to tell us about the time when you broke your neck.

Yeah. Well, it was when I was 15, back in 1985. And I jumped into a skip full of cardboard boxes. I was with a couple of friends and one of them suggested it. One of them, that person that suggested it, did it. The other one said under no uncertain terms, "No, I am not doing it, I hate heights." And yeah, I decided to copy my mate. It did not go very well.


I sort of landed upside down, basically paralysing myself immediately.

Do you remember the event very well?

Remember it all. I was fully conscious during it all.

Oh, my goodness, okay. So I guess someone called an ambulance straight away?

Pretty much. I heard my friends talking on the other side of the skip. I did wonder whether they were going to come back to... You hear them talking. They then came over and called an ambulance immediately. I had to whisper to my friend to turn me over because I could not breathe, which normally you should not do. And his first words were to actually... "Are you sure I should do that?" But because I literally could not breathe, I said, "Yes." And that did actually help immediately.

That must have been an incredibly frightening time?

Absolutely, yeah. I mean, it was very worrying at that and then, well, it just carried on for quite a while.

So at that time, whilst you were waiting for that ambulance to turn up, I imagine your life must have been flashing before your eyes?

Pretty much. I was just completely scared, worried. Yes, there is not much...

At 15 years old.

Yeah, there is not much more you can say, really.

No. So the ambulance turned up. Which hospital did you go to?

Went to Broomfield.


Stayed in Broomfield for about 24 hours but I then got transferred to Stoke Mandeville, where I had full rehabilitation at the time.

And how long were you in there for?

It was about nine months, October to June.

Okay, that is a long time to be in a hospital.

It is a long time, although with some camaraderie I think it is slightly different to a short stay in a hospital because you get to know a lot of people.

And how close was that hospital to the family? Did you have a family?

My family, because I was 15, up until the age of 16, my parents were given accommodation to stay at the hospital. After that, then once you are 16 the rules change. My dad was off work for two weeks, I think, he was able to get compassionate leave for, and then he started to have to go to work from Stoke Mandeville. It obviously upset everything. My sisters were also spread out in London and things where they had gone to university, so it completely upends the whole family situation.

So you had to deal not only with the accident and how that left you feeling but also your family having to...

I would say at the time I probably did not really think about that.

Fair enough.

On how the effects... It affects the family. Over time, you understand far more how much it affects, whom it affects and just how many people it can affect.

Okay. So what activity did you have to give up as a result of this accident?

Well, I was generally a sporty person, but in particular, I played golf quite a lot, and immediately that was something... My father came in one day and asked me, "What do you want me to do with your golf clubs?" And it was at that moment that it really hit me that yes, you are not going to be playing golf. You are not going to be doing this. You are not going to be doing that.

It really was life-changing.

It was. It was quite a teary moment and then my dad realised the strength of his comment, and equally burst into tears and we had a moment. And, well, it actually helped bond things and actually cement it in my mind on you go and find out what you are still capable of.

So can you remember the time when you had to leave the hospital after that first long stretch that you spent there?

Yes. I mean, I had gone home at weekends previously. They even had a bungalow in the hospital where you would have a weekend just to sort of practice almost. Everything is going to be new and everything is new and everything is different. But in many ways that is quite exciting, because you are getting out and then you are going to go to start to try and get some life back basically.

Right, so you would have been 16 when you came out then?

Yeah, 16 and a half.

Right. So an exciting time in life in lots of ways.

Very much, very much. And I had been fortunate. I have come across technology whilst in a hospital which had already started to help me and put things in place for going back to school, catching up with where I had left off really.

Oh, that is great. So were you able to take exams or did that interest you?

It basically put me back a year. But then I went back and instead of being in the fifth year I was only allowed to do three or four subjects. But yeah, that would basically put me back a year and then just catch up. But also with this technology that the council had provided and so forth, it had given me great building blocks to go on and carry on with my education.

Okay, so can you also remember having ambition? Can you remember thinking... Did you have to change your ambition as a result of the accident?

I was fortunate that I had no direct route, that I had decided. No, a lot of it was just... Obviously, school was an option, then college. And it was just seeing where you went and see where you are headed.

So you were quite open about it in the first place?

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And like I said, I had not gotten anything definite. And it was anything... Yeah. Really do not know where I was going at the time.

Okay, and obviously, you have spent a large part of your adult life talking about the accident and how it has impacted you. But you have also spent the time trying to help other people understand and...

Absolutely. It is one of the things that it is good to use your own lived experience to try and help others where they have not been able to have the opportunity or know about the opportunities where you can share that information, let others know about it. It is always very helpful. And it is also very meaningful that you can help someone to get towards that.

Andy, thank you ever so much for taking the time to share your story with us.

Not at all.

I think it is much appreciated.

Thank you.

You have heard Andy's story. He has got some brilliant lived experience. The quiz that follows will be based on the interview you have just seen.