Triathlon triumph following serious brain injury

A woman who suffered a serious brain injury just one year ago and took three months to recover, has completed a triathlon to raise funds for a Leamington hospital.

Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 3:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:35 pm
Sophie McCormack and her boyfriend Alex Harper at the end of the triathlon.

Sophie McCormack fell off her horse while at Rockingham Horse Trials in May last year and had to spend a week in an induced coma. She was then moved to the Central England Rehabilitation Unit (CERU) at Leamington Spa Hospital, where she was under the care of neurological rehabilitation consultant Derar Badwan.

Over three months, Sophie underwent intensive rehabilitation - and the progress she has made since meant she felt ready to take on the 20km cycle and 6km run elements of the Blenheim Palace event, which she completed in just over two hours. Her boyfriend completed the swimming section for her.

Speaking before the event, she said: : “This is my first triathlon, so I’m a little nervous, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m extremely grateful to Mr Badwan and the rest of the staff here for helping me get back on my feet.

“On the day of the accident, my life changed forever. My beloved horse Pete lost his life and I was acutely ill for most of the summer.

“The road to recovery has been harder than I could have ever imagined - psychologically and physically - but by doing this I am proving living with a brain injury does not have to stop you from achieving incredible things.

“I’m keen to show everyone how far I’ve come and to show my appreciation for the unit. I’m looking forward to returning with the money I have raised.”

Mr Badwan said: “I’m very happy for Sophie - to be able to do a triathalon after only a year shows how hard she has worked at her rehabilitation.”

Sophie is also raising funds for the Injured Jockeys’ Fund, which funds Oaksey House rehabilitation centre in Berkshire. She has already raised around £2,900 but is still taking donations. To sponsor her, visit

CERU in Heathcote Lane, Leamington, is a nationally-accredited, neurological rehabilitation facility, which offers care to patients across the whole of the UK. It relies on fundraising to enhance its facilities for patients. To find out more, visit