Former Yorkshire all-rounder Hood opens up on life changing accident ahead of Vitality Blast Finals Day

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1 Apr 1997:  A portrait of Jamie Hood of Yorkshire County Cricket Club at Headingley in Leeds, England. \ Mandatory Credit: Graham Chadwick /Allsport
1 Apr 1997: A portrait of Jamie Hood of Yorkshire County Cricket Club at Headingley in Leeds, England. \ Mandatory Credit: Graham Chadwick /Allsport

As former all-rounder Jamie Hood travels to Edgbaston to watch his former county Yorkshire at Vitality Blast Finals Day, for the first time he has revealed a tragic turn of events that could have lessened his life-changing injuries, writes Matt Wright.

Destined to join the likes of Darren Gough, Michael Vaughan, and Darren Lehmann in Yorkshire’s first team – all-rounder Hood saw his life change forever in 1998.

The second team cricketer was about to start his third season on Yorkshire’s staff when he broke his neck in a car accident in Cape Town early in 1998 and then suffered further injuries in hospital.

The accident, which happened when a tyre blew out at low speed, left Hood with no mobility below his neck and wheelchair-bound ever since.

The accident left Hood on a life support machine and although paralysed, he has failed to give up on life, and has continued to be involved with cricket.

“Something happened in the hospital, which not a lot of people know about,” Hood said.

“I had callipers in my neck to stabilise my fractured neck and one of the callipers fell out, dislocating my neck.

“The next day I found myself on a ventilator, not being able to breathe on my own, which was quite frightening.

“I went out with my girlfriend for a bite to eat on the night and we were driving home, and I just lost control of the car.

“It was just a freak accident and the whiplash of the impact of the crash broke my neck at a level where it left me paralysed.

“It was a freak accident because I never had a scratch or a mark on me, it was just the fact of the whiplash that broke my neck at the time.

“The tyre blew out and I lost control of the car, going no more than roughly 10mph.”

The Professional Cricketers’ Trust is set to celebrate the biggest day in the county calendar while highlighting the life-changing work of the charity at Edgbaston on Saturday 16 July.

Hood, who has been invited by the Professional Cricketers’ Association as a beneficiary on the day, will be interviewed for BBC and on the big screen to talk about his experiences and the help he has received from the Trust.

The former Yorkshire man is one of the longest serving beneficiaries of the Trust due to his condition and the cricket family wanting to improve quality of life to as normal as possible.

The Vitality Blast Finals Day is to support the players’ charity for the third successive year and with several heart-breaking and heart-warming stories told throughout the build-up, fundraising activities are now confirmed.

The Trust was created to support the health and wellbeing of PCA members who have entertained cricket supporters over the years on the pitch for when they are in desperate need for help.

And former Yorkshire all-rounder Hood, who has been supported by the Professional Cricketers’ Trust since his life-changing accident, is forever grateful for the support he has received.

As well as financial and widespread support, Hood took delivery of a specially adapted vehicle that increased his mobility thanks to the Professional Cricketers’ Trust in 2o16.

Despite his injuries, Hood remains actively involved in cricket as a coach at his local club Redcar and as a spectator at Yorkshire matches at Headingley and Scarborough.

The specially adapted vehicle is like the one that the Trust provided for Winston Davis, the former West Indies, Glamorgan, and Northamptonshire fast bowler who suffered a terrible injury himself and will enable Hood to be driven more easily by his carers.

“The Professional Cricketer’s Trust has helped me immensely financially, equipment-wise,” Hood said.

“I have exercise machinery, machines to keep my body supple – I have been in a wheelchair now for 25 years and my body is in real decent shape down to the help the Trust have provided me.

“Without that, I would not be able to do half of the things that I like doing, as in days out, shopping, going to watch cricket matches, holidays abroad, and things like that.

“It means everything because all it takes if I need anything is to give [Trust president] David Graveney a ring, or one of the other trustees, and they will help me in any way they can.

“Basically, the Professional Cricketers’ Trust change so many lives.

“You help people like me to live a normal life as much as possible and I just want to say thank you very much.”

The Professional Cricketers’ Trust provides vital support to past and present cricketers in England and Wales and their immediate families when in desperate need. The charity’s work is all encompassing, whether it be for unforeseen physical or mental needs. Vitality Blast Finals Day is supporting the players’ charity - to find out more about the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, visit professionalcricketerstrust.org

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