She was working out with her personal trainer when she began to feel a bad headache coming on. Pushing through, she forced herself to work through the first exercises. But the shooting, stabbing, constricting pain only got worse. At some level she says, while she was crawling into the locker room, she knew what was happening, her brain was damaged.
Clarke was experiencing a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a type of stroke which results in a ruptured brain aneurysm. Basically bleeding in the brain. It has a 43% risk of death immediately after and a 57% mortality rate at 6 months (Lantigua et al., 2015).
Then in 2013 after making a recovery, a routine check up led to another brain surgery. Only this time she woke up screaming in pain – it had failed.
Over the next month, she lost hope, believing that at any moment she might die. She also lost a lot of her brain. Yet in her own words, “it’s remarkable that I am able to speak, sometimes articulately, and live my life completely normally with absolutely no repercussions,” (Metro interview).
For a long time, she kept the experience quiet. She was terrified of the news getting out. But she’s now using her painful experience to raise awareness. Her non-profit, SameYou, helps victims of brain injury and stroke go through rehabilitation.