July 5, 2019 3.07 pm This story is over 36 months old

How music saved Lincoln man after horrific skateboard accident

It caused short-term memory problems and anxiety

A love for music helped a Lincoln man pull through the dark times after a horrific skateboarding accident left him with memory problems and anxiety.

Mitch Spencer, 22, fell off a skateboard at Sharp Walk in North Hykeham in the week of his 13th birthday back in 2010. After tumbling down a hill he landed on his back and hit the back left side of his skull, which fractured instantly causing a bleed on the brain.

He told The Lincolnite he doesn’t remember anything from that evening but was filled in by friends about the incident. He said he was overwhelmed by a feeling of failure and hopelessness.

Music pulled Mitch through some dark times. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The skateboard accident

Recalling what he has been told about accident from nine years ago, Mitch said he was sat at the side of the road quite normal but a bit nauseous.

Once his mother arrived to collect him he soon started slurring his speech and repeating phrases instead of making normal conversation.

An ambulance was called, but him and his mother were told not to worry as it appeared to just be concussion. After spending several hours in A&E in Lincoln Mitch had a CT scan where a large amount of pressure was found in his head, caused by a bleed to the brain.

He was rushed to Sheffield’s children’s hospital where he spent a week on an intensive care unit before the bleed stopped and he started to recover.

Music gave Mitch hope and he loves performing with his band The Rills. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Mitch said: “It was a slow process at first, with wheelchair rides and then onto crutches, but my physical recovery was fast due to my eagerness. I think I was quite a hyperactive teenager.

“After that I had some time away from school and eventually went back part-time. This was all due to mental exhaustion which I became prone to due to the bleed.

“I needed the fracture to heal, but that was the least of my worries as my short-term memory was dramatically affected. For years after I tried all sorts of exercises and mental activities to boost memory, but there was always an impending feeling of failure or hopelessness.

Mitch is the lead singer and guitarist in Lincoln band The Rills. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“However, while I had all this time on my hands I became obsessed with music. The physical activity of playing guitar helped develop my ability to concentrate and the theory I learnt and memorised faster than anything I learnt during that period.

“It was that which gave me the hope and motivation to continue the slow process of mental rehabilitation, which lasted years and even now occasionally I have moments of ridiculousness with my short-term memory.”

It’s nine years later and Mitch has just finished his second year studying English with creative writing at Queen’s Mary University of London.

Music remains his passion and, along with three friends, Mitch set up a Lincoln band called The Rills after he finished  recovery therapy related to his injury. Mitch is the lead singer and guitarist of the band, who have been performing for three years.

Mitch told The Lincolnite: “Music has always been a part of my recovery, and helped me get through GCSEs, A Levels and finally go onto my degree.

“Music is everything to me really, I couldn’t imagine a life without some kind of instrument near me to tinker with. I’d probably go insane!”

Music was crucial in Mitch’s recovery from a Skateboard accident, which caused a bleed to the brain. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Lincoln’s music scene and gigs

The Rills – Charlie Weight and Mason Cassar (top row), Callum Warner-Webb and Mitch Spencer (bottom row). Photo: JoJo Danielle

Mitch plays in The Rills with three friends – Charlie Weight and Callum Warner-Webb, who are both from Lincoln, and Mason Cassar from Essex.

The Rills are headlining a gig on Saturday, July 6 at Liquor, which is located above Trebles. Lincoln locals DB Jones will open the night with support from Mice on Mars. Tickets are £5 online and £6 on the door – click here to purchase tickets or visit any of the bands’ Facebook pages.

Mitch added: “We’re collaborating with a promotions company called Silver Sounds at our next gig as I want to see everyone in the Lincoln music industry benefit from my gigs.

“2Q has brought a huge amount of music and exposure for bands into the city, which was non-existent when I was younger.  For all the reasons that we moved away, you could now say the same for Lincoln, or at least you can see it happening before your eyes.

“With more gigs and more people coming to the local festivals every year, the more likely we are to see brilliant music in Lincoln. The best one more me has been the development of the Engine Shed’s Platform as I’ve seen some great bands coming through there and would love to see more.”