A MAN who has a brain injury after a horrific cycling accident is urging others to wear a helmet – however short the journey.

Russ Mathews, 33, was cycling down Queen’s Road in Brighton when he fell off near the Clock Tower, writes Carly-May Kavanagh.

He suffered fractures to his eye socket and jaw and serious brain injuries, and has suffered from memory loss, speech issues and anxiety as well as problems with

decision making since the crash in 2017.

He said: “Over the last 18 months I have been in denial.

“I didn’t realise how bad the accident was and the impact it’s had on my life because emotionally I haven’t been in the right space to look into it.

“One of my biggest strengths before the accident was my mind and memory and I am still not in a place where I feel like I am anywhere near how I was before.

“I was also very good at regulating my emotions.

“I am very thankful that it was not worse than it is but I have found it hard not to compare things now to how I used to be.”

He has had problems sleeping for the last 18 months and that has only improved through the use of medication in the last few weeks.

Mr Mathews has also suffered from headaches, describing them as “splitting” and “the worst of my life”.

At the time of the accident his partner, 24-year-old Hannah Dixon, was four months pregnant with their son.

He said: “Parenthood was really tough.

“When I sit back and rationalise it we’re so blessed, he’s amazing, but I struggle with a lot of noise and regulating emotions when there’s too much input like crowds and lots of people talking at once.

“Plus, of course, sleep and babies don’t really go hand in hand.”

He had therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and is looking into support groups run by Headway, the brain injury association.

He added: “One of the positives of this is the support you can get during the recovery process.

“Talking to people who have gone through something similar is such a helpful thing to do.”

Although he is desperate to get back to cycling, he’s been nervous to do so, and has had balance problems as a result of the medication.

He said: “I was too focused on getting to a meeting and didn’t wear my helmet when I had my accident.

“So few people wear helmets, I thought ‘it’s just a five-minute ride from the station, I don’t need to worry,’.

“But you don’t really think about the worst that could happen.

“Everyone needs to wear a helmet, especially families with young children.”

Almost 200 bicycle accidents are reported in Brighton each year, of which 45 are considered serious, according to police figures.