'My brother Lewis said I could be a champion just like him': Nic Hamilton says cerebral palsy won't stall his racing dream

View previous topic View next topic Go down

'My brother Lewis said I could be a champion just like him': Nic Hamilton says cerebral palsy won't stall his racing dream

Post by Guest on Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:04 pm

'My brother Lewis said I could be a champion just like him': Nic Hamilton says cerebral palsy won't stall his racing dream


Brothers in arms: Lewis made a 13,000 mile round trip to watch Nic's debut race at Brands Hatch

He has always been a familiar face on the Formula 1 circuit, sharing his former world champion brother Lewis's triumphs and occasional disappointments.

But a few weeks ago the roles were reversed when the lesser-known Hamilton brother - Nic - took his place on the grid at Brands Hatch to make his racing debut.

Lewis, who had made a 13,000mile round trip from preparations for the Malaysian Grand Prix to support his younger brother, was watching proudly from the pits.

Nic, 19, had at last realised what he thought was an impossible dream: to be a serious competitor in a car with a top speed of 130mph. What makes this debut such an extraordinary achievement is that he suffers from spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy (CP).

The condition affects the nerves and fibres controlling Nic's legs, arms and hands, causing difficulty walking and pain. At times he needs a wheelchair.

Nic is, of course, full of admiration for his brother Lewis's achievements but deservedly proud of his own triumphs.

'Lewis is seven years older and had competed in the UK Karting Championship since he was eight. From the time I was born, my parents took me every weekend with them to watch him race around the UK and Europe,' says Nic.

'I became a real racing nerd - I knew all the drivers and talked about karting all the time. I wanted to have a go, but when I got into a kart the noise scared me. I was also worried that I wouldn't be able to control the brake with my foot.

'My father encouraged me, but when I drove a kart for the first time in an empty car park, I hit a high kerb and went over a drop into 6in of water.

'I decided that was the end of it, especially when the engine started smoking. But Dad said that if you fall off a horse, you should get back on straight away.'

Nic credits his brother for ' toughening me up'. He says Lewis, who last weekend won the Chinese Grand Prix, is his inspiration.

'When I was little, Lewis was rough, tough and daredevilish as older brothers can be, but he was always fun and loving. He did not see me as disabled - I don't believe he ever has. He saw and treated me as a normal, ablebodied brother and for that I owe him plenty.

'I also looked to racing driver Alex Zanardi, who lost his legs in a crash but still races with prosthetics.'

The Hamiltons' father, Anthony, 50, who once managed Lewis and now looks after upcoming F1 driver Paul di Resta, is cautiously welcoming of his youngest son's ambitions.


Number one: Nic, left with Lewis when he became world champion in 2008, and father Anthony, mother Linda and Lewis's girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger

Number one: Nic, left with Lewis when he became world champion in 2008, and father Anthony, mother Linda and Lewis's girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger

'We tried to give Nic as normal a life as possible, and when I say that, I mean independent and tough because that's what real life is. He is a determined young man and deserves every opportunity. We trust that he will do whatever it takes to keep himself safe,' he says.

About one in 400 British children is thought to have CP. The more premature the baby, the higher the risk and, according to the charity Scope, around 1,800 children are diagnosed every year.

The symptoms of CP vary between individuals. Some have problems walking while others are profoundly disabled and require lifelong care.

Those with cerebral palsy often have other related conditions or problems, including epilepsy, learning difficulties, visual and hearing impairment, difficulties speaking or understanding other people speak, and delayed growth.
'We tried to give Nic as normal a life as possible, and when I say that, I mean independent and tough because that's what real life is. He is a determined young man and deserves every opportunity.'

Dr Chaniyil Ramesh, consultant paediatrician specialising in CP at Watford General Hospital, says: 'CP is a disorder of posture, movement and coordination as a result of an injury to the growing immature brain which could happen in pregnancy, during or after birth and even in early childhood.

'There are several causes: infection in pregnancy, prematurity, oxygen deprivation to the baby, bleeding into the brain, an abnormally formed brain, plus genetic causes.

'Problems can range from a mild ankle tightness, which may not be very obvious, to a wheelchairbound patient, when all aspects of development are affected and they may also have epilepsy or need surgery. It depends which parts of the brain have been affected.

'The damage is generally in the motor cortex - the nerve fibres coming down the cortex to the spinal cord - which is why those affected have problems with movement.

'A common misconception is that all of those with CP have learning difficulties or are mentally disabled, which only a minority do. This misunderstanding may be because some people with the condition can have problems controlling their facial movements and speech, making it difficult to understand them.'

Nic was born prematurely at 31 weeks weighing just 4lb 4oz. From their family home in an exclusive part of Hertfordshire, his mother Linda speaks of the devastation she felt when she was told her baby had stopped breathing and would have to be taken to intensive care.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1379912/Lewis-Hamilton-says-cerebral-palsy-brother-Nic-Grand-Prix-champion-too.html#ixzz1KRuR0ZK0

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum