Doctors thought the British endurance runner might never walk again after a serious road accident, but he has made an amazing recovery
When Tom Holden lay unconscious in hospital following a road accident in May last year, doctors gave his parents the grim news that he might never walk again, let alone run.
The damage to his brain was so severe after a car had hit him in Loughborough, his life was hanging in the balance and the chances of a full recovery minimal.
It took almost two months before he was able to speak again, but by August he was able to walk unaided for the first time and six months after the accident he took his first tentative steps back toward running.
The subsequent weeks saw him reduce his time for a 200m run from outside two minutes to a mere 36 seconds and he has chronicled his comeback in an inspirational video which has been shared thousands of times on social media.
“I thought it might have an impact, but only with friends and people I knew on Facebook. I didn’t think it would spread as far as it has done,” he told AW about the video.
“It’s really good, though,” he adds, “as hopefully my story will be inspirational to anybody who has problems to overcome.”
The runner first showed his ability in 2010-11 when he won the Inter-Counties and English Schools cross-country titles. Since then the Loughborough University economics student has become part of the successful Tonbridge AC squad coached by Mark Hookway, reduced his 1500m PB to 3:46.30 and a few months before his accident he won the junior men’s race at the prestigious annual CrossCup in Brussels.
“The doctors scanned my brain and found the damage was deep and widespread and my parents were told I had a less than 10% chance of walking again,” Holden says. “The odds were really stacked against me.”
He is defying the odds, though, and says: “Every time I do something new that I couldn’t do before, it becomes the norm and I try to move forward from it and on to doing new things.
“I know what my end goal is, but I know it’s not likely to happen tomorrow. If I have any improvement, then I take energy from that.”
» To read the full interview with Tom Holden, see the June 21 issue of AW