In Cahoots Session – Learn, Unlearn, Relearn with Dr Sarah Brooker

Dr Sarah Brooker was an ambitious young woman studying to be a neuroscientist. She had the world at her feet. On New Year’s Eve, 2002, an unbelievable series of events occurred: a brain aneurysm, a devastating car accident, a body broken and a mind shattered. When she woke up, she had no recollection of her old life.
Dr-Sarah-Brooker

Dr Sarah Brooker

Barbara Harvey

The author of “My Lucky Stroke”, Sarah shares her story in the latest “In Cahoots” session on how she learned, unlearned and relearned and built anew. She has since achieved Honours and a PhD and worked as a rehabilitation consultant, counsellor, waitress, tutor, behavioural neuroscientist, student support officer, and high school teacher. She lives near Adelaide, where she works as a relief teacher in high schools and disability units and lives on a farm with her husband, Alan.

In this article, Cahoot Learning will share some valuable inspirations that we can all learn from Sarah Brooker.

The Letter

Sarah started the conversation by reading out a letter, the prologue to “My Lucky Stroke”.

Changing Oneself for the Better

While her accident was devastating and horrific, optimism and determination emerged as she slowly recovered.

“Before the accident, I was a very serious person who was only interested in neuroscience, and unless someone is a professor talking to me about the brain, I would genuinely have no idea why that person is even talking to me,” she said. She explained that after the accident, she felt like she was more aware of her surroundings for the first time in her life and began to establish positive connections with them.

Finding Meaning Through Optimism

Immediately after the accident, Sarah was in a coma and had broken multiple parts of her body – damages from her lung to pelvis. After the coma, she had no recollection of her old life. Not even at first her closest twin sister, Abi. She explained that “had the stroke not happened and I steered the car away from the pole, the centre of impact would be on my seat, and I would’ve passed away”. 

Her lost recollection of Abi was temporary, and her family played an enormous role in supporting her as she gained strength every day.

The In Cahoots audience were inspired and touched by Sarah’s sense of perspective and gratitude. Sarah shared that she was grateful for the series of events that happened all at the same time – from her sister not sitting at another spot of the car to the brain aneurysm to the oil-spilt road, to being alive. Even down to wiggling toes, where she experienced simple joys while being bed-bound.

Sarah’s love and passion for learning, like her habit of immersing herself to seek further knowledge on her lecture notes, helped a lot in the process.

The Excitement of True Learning

Some people may see learning as an obligatory activity, merely a stepping stone for achieving a goal. But not Sarah. Sarah immersed herself in re-learning everything from scratch again at 20 – from speaking to walking. She described that instead of seeing rehabilitation as sessions, she saw them as lessons.

In Conclusion

Sarah’s inspiring story gives us an insight into how a change in perspective creates positive outcomes and that every experience provides us with the opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn again. We are so grateful that Sarah joined us for In Cahoots and shared her incredible story.

If you are keen on watching Dr Sarah’s session, we have a recording accessible for you here.

Experience joy through a unique learning experience with Cahoot Learning. Learn unlearn relearn through a cohort-based learning model in the best corporate learning platform, with courses ranging from adaptive leadership courses to innovative strategy courses. 

About the Storyteller

In Cahoots guest Sarah BrookerDr Sarah Brooker

On New Year’s Eve 2002, Sarah Brooker was studying to become a neuroscientist when a freak accident put her in a coma for weeks. When she woke up, she had no recollection of her old life. Since the accident, Sarah has achieved Honours and a PhD, and worked as a rehabilitation consultant, counsellor, waitress, tutor, behavioural neuroscientist, student support officer, and high school teacher. She lives near Adelaide, where she works as a relief teacher in high schools and disability units, and lives on a farm with her husband, Alan.

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