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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 19:29 GMT 20:29 UK
'Six-month recovery' for Hammond
Richard Hammond
Richard Hammond is making good progress in his recovery

Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond, who crashed in a jet-powered car, could be "back to his old self" within six months, according to his neurologist.

Mr Hammond seemed in good spirits as he was moved from a Leeds hospital to another in Bristol, near his home.

Neurosurgeon Stuart Ross said rest could help Mr Hammond recover from his "brain injury" within months.

The presenter was treated for a brain injury at Leeds General Infirmary, after crashing while filming the show.

Mr Ross - the presenter's consultant neurosurgeon - said "there is no getting around" the fact that his patient has a "significant brain injury".

However, he said the TV star, who is a married father-of-two, was "doing well".

Recovery period

Mr Ross went on: "There comes a period now which is unfortunately slow and is difficult to get through. But there comes a period when he has to get over the injury.

"He has to rest and allow his brain to recover and that takes time. I'm sure that once that period is over he will be back to his old self."

Richard and Amanda Hammond
Mr Hammond with his wife Amanda who kept a bedside vigil

When asked when that might be, Mr Ross suggested a timeframe of about six months.

Mike Lindley, operations manager at Yorkshire Air Ambulance which moved Mr Hammond from the Leeds hospital, said: "His recovery is absolutely remarkable.

"He was sort of talking to the crew, sort of laughing and joking, although he was a bit unstable on his feet."

Mr Lindley estimated he would be nearly back to normal in two or three weeks.

The presenter had been driving a jet-powered dragster similar to the Vampire used by Colin Fallows to set the British land speed record of 300.3 mph.

'Ribbing'

He had to be cut free after the car "veered off to the right" and its parachutes opened during the drive, during the crash last Wednesday.

The 36-year-old, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has since received hundreds of cards and flowers from well-wishers.

In the days after the crash, Mr Hammond said he was so overwhelmed with flowers he was worried he could be "in for some ribbing from fellow Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May".

He will now continue his recovery in the Bupa hospital in Clifton, Bristol.

A BBC spokeswoman confirmed that the final part of the Best Of Top Gear, which was due to be screened on 1 October, had been postponed indefinitely.

Police and the Health and Safety Executive are continuing to investigate the crash.




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