Countdown hopeful Kevin took up puzzles to beat brain injury

The following article appears in this week’s Torquay Herald Express:


A TORQUAY man who took up puzzles to help him recover from brain damage sustained in a serious road accident will appear on TV quiz Countdown next week.

Kevin Banyard (pictured), 55, was in a coma for five months and suffered 29 broken bones after a crash five years ago.


Doctors thought he would never recover from the physical injuries he suffered while riding his bicycle.

But after taking up number and word puzzles as a way of keeping his mind active, Kevin has managed to prove the surgeons wrong.

He was successful at an audition and earned a place on the TV show.

His appearance is due to air on Monday, April 9.

Producers of the long-running Channel 4 show are not giving anything away about whether Kevin managed to unseat the champion on the day.

But they have described him as an ‘inspiration’ for his efforts.

Kevin, of Braddons Hill Road East, Torquay, was living in Barnstaple when the accident happened.

He said: “I was a keen cyclist and used to go out all the time. I went down quite a steep hill and that was the last thing I remember.

“I was either hit off the bike by a car or hit a pothole in the middle of the road.

“I broke 29 bones and had three fractures of the skull. I was in a coma for a while then in an induced coma for four or five months.

“Initially, the doctors weren’t hopeful but I made a good recovery.

“As I say on the programme, the only depressing thing about it all is that I’ve got no sense of smell or taste.

“The puzzles were a way of keeping my brain active and I became good at it.”

He got so good, in fact, he can achieve the highest levels in both types of puzzles.

He said appearing on the show was an enjoyable challenge and thanked those who had helped him to get so far in his recovery, especially Headway Devon which cares for people recovering from brain injuries.

Kevin says the only lingering problem with his brain is a lack of short-term memory.

A spokesman for Channel 4 confirmed the show would be broadcast at 3.10pm with regular host Nick Hewer in the chair and guest Jenny Eclair.

“We have had quite a few people on who have suffered serious injuries in the past and who have used the show as a way to help with their rehabilitation,” said the spokesman.

“It seems quite a good way to keep the brain active.

“Kevin is an inspiration for what he has achieved as part of his recovery.”