Former Olympic rower walking round hospital unaided two weeks after horror crash

Former Olympic rower James Cracknell has astonished doctors in the United States with the speed his recovery from injuries received when he was hit from behind by a truck in Arizona a fortnight ago.

Last week, we reported that Cracknell’s wife Beverley Turner had revealed that it could be six months before her husband recovered from his injuries, including brain damage, sustained in the accident on 20 July near Winslow, Arizona as he filmed a documentary charting his attempt to travel from coast to coast by cycling, rowing, running and swimming.

The Daily Telegraph, for which both Turner and Cracknell are columnists, says that he is now walking around the hospital unaided, in contrast to last week when he was not able to sit up in bed or open his eyes. Cracknell is reportedly still confused, agitated and suffering from anmnesia, reports the newspaper, but it adds that doctors at the Rehabilitation Institute at the Phoenix Hospital, where he was previously in the Neuro-trauma recovery ward, have described his recuperation as “exceptional.”

Turner told The Daily Telegraph: “James has amazed the doctors with his physical progress. Since starting to walk with minimal assistance three days ago, he now spends hour after hour doing slow laps of the ward.”

She continued: "The nurses are charmed by his English manners but confess to never having seen a patient cover so many miles in one corridor.”

However, Turner acknowledged that her husband was still in the early stages of recovery, saying: “Despite the huge steps forward, my husband still has some way to go until he is back to his old self, but if anyone has the focus and drive to meet the challenges ahead, it is James.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.