Drive To Survive Star Returns To Formula One, Eight Months After A Stroke Robbed Her Of Speech

Jennie Gow, one of the star commentators in Drive to Survive is back at work this weekend, eight months after suffering a stroke deprived her of her speech.

Gow, who presents the BBC’s Formula One motor-racing coverage as well as appearing in the hit Netflix series, suffered a stroke at her home on December 29, triggered by a bad cough.

The Times of London reports that Gow spent New Year’s Eve in hospital unable to move or speak, while her family was told the stroke was “possibly fatal.”

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But this weekend, she is back on duty, reporting on the Dutch Grand Prix, where the current world champion Max Verstappen will be competing in front of his home crowd.

Gow tells The Times her memory of experiencing the stroke remains hazy, and that she has had to re-learn how to pronounce words, after being given a whiteboard to write messages: “It was like a bad game of Christmas charades. Even now I’m having to learn words that aren’t common. Charades isn’t something we normally play.”

Gow was buoyed by a nurse who advised her to try getting angry and start shouting. “I thought I couldn’t do that,” she told the paper. “I definitely could have imagined myself not speaking for a lot longer, maybe months.”

She says now that speech is “slowly coming back to normal . . . some of the words still don’t come out.”

The paper reports that doctors explained Gow’s stroke had been caused by a rare occurrence, her carotid artery on the left side of her neck being torn because of her persistent coughing. They told her a blood clot flew up the damaged vessel and caused the stroke on the left side of her brain.

Of her return to the world of F1, she reveals: “You lose your confidence a lot. That’s one of those things about coming back from a stroke. It would definitely be easier to not try and do this. I feel like I had to.”

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