Sterling Spencer Is Recovering From Multiple Traumatic Head Injuries - Stab Mag

Sterling Spencer Is Recovering From Multiple Traumatic Head Injuries

“My family thought I was crazy. They took me to the doctors, they said I was depressed.”

Words by Michael Ciaramella

Gulf Coast Floridian freesurfer, comedy creator, and the only real threat to Kelly Slater’s title of the “Number 1 surfer in the world“, Sterling Spencer, has had a rough go of things.

His father, universally beloved east coast surfing icon Yancy Spencer, died in 2011, leading Sterling to well-documented bouts of depression. He turned to meditation and eventually made Join the Dance, an introspective and largely existential film that he hoped would provide peace of mind for both himself and viewers.

“When I started feeling depression and all that stuff, I realized that my programming wasn’t working anymore, so I basically had to figure out something new,” Sterling told Surfer Magazine. “I tried to use this [film] to express everything I felt and everything I was going through in a visual artform.”

Since the film was released in 2019, we’ve seen (and heard) very little from Sterling. That is until this past week, when he emerged in IG stories wearing strange head gear in the doctor’s office.

At first, Sterling was vague in his explanations, saying only that he couldn’t be on his phone for more than a few hours a day, and that he would explain more later. Then, yesterday, over the course of several face-to-camera IG stories, he gave a brief explanation of where he’s been and what’s been ailing him.

We asked Sterling if we could share his story on our website.

“That would be awesome, thank you.”

Unfortunately, this is not one of Sterling’s goofy gags.

Below is the transcript from his IG stories.

“Hey friends, thanks to everyone for sending me messages of support. 

“Everyone keeps asking me what happened. About a year and a half ago, I got hit in the head with my surfboard fin. Six months later I completely lost my mind, and I was walking the streets at night.

“My family thought I was crazy. They took me to the doctors, they said I was depressed. I finally found out I had a traumatic brain injury from that incident. So then I got on a good program, then I got really sick, probably Covid, and I couldn’t get out of bed for probably three months. It was terrible.

“Then I slowly started getting better again. I was walking up hills three times a day. Then I got into a car accident. I got hit by a drunk driver while sitting at a red light. They were going 40 miles an hour, and [the accident] totally reinjured my brain worse.

“For three months I couldn’t walk—wheelchair [only]. Now I’m seeing a neurologist, specialist, and that’s what you’re seeing. Hopefully I’ll be surfing soon.”

We reached out to Sterling to see if he was willing and/or able to chat further on the subject.

“I am not well enough yet to do an interview, but I will let you know when I am.”

He followed, unprompted, with a classic dose of Sterling humor.

“All those years of making fun of Kelly finally caught up to me [laughing emoji]”.


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