James Cracknell expresses fears that Strictly Come Dancing could trigger epileptic fit

james cracknell strictly fears epilepsy
(Image credit: Getty)

Strictly Come Dancing star James Cracknell has shared fears about his health.

The British athlete, who is currently taking part in this year’s series of the hit BBC dancing show, has opened up about his fears surrounding his health.

He has explained his concerns that the rigorous Strictlyrehearsal schedule could trigger an epileptic fit.

The rowing champion has suffered from seizures since 2010 when he was involved in a collision with a truck while filming for Cracknell’s Race Across America. The accident left him with a brain injury.

james cracknell strictly fears epilepsy

He told The Sun that his fits are usually caused by tiredness, and revealed that he has made Strictly partner, Luba Mushtuk, aware of his condition.

"Some people get epilepsy from strobe lighting, but not me," he said. "I don’t want to worry Luba but mine is set off by fatigue. When I’ve had a seizure it’s been because of not sleeping."

"Epilepsy comes with a bit of a stigma," continued the Olympic gold medallist.

"One of the drawbacks is that it’s a hidden disability. I think it’s important for anyone who has a profile to get other people to understand it."

More: Strictly Come Dancing star suffers injury as show rehearsals start

The 47-year-old, who didn’t get off to the best start on this year’s Strictly after notoriously tough judge Craig Revel Horwood told him he was ‘lethargic’ and ‘hunched over’ during his first performance this past weekend, has revealed that he is determined to make it to the fourth week of the competition for an adorable reason.

The dad-of-three hopes to stay in until the fourth week of the show so that his eldest child Croyde, who will be turning 16 on the day of the fourth show, can watch him perform on his birthday.

"You have to be sixteen to go," James told HELLO!. "It would be nice".

The sportsman revealed that son Croyde, who he shares with ex-wife Beverley Turner, was actually with him when he had his first epileptic fit.

james cracknell strictly fears epilepsy

"My son turns 16 soon and it’s good for him to see me doing Strictly," he said. "When I had my first seizure it was me and him at home and he had to call the ambulance.

"He sees how bad I am, a lot. So for him to see me do this would actually be good for him.

"I want to show him I’m going to be around for a while,’ he continued. ‘It’s been tough for him. We didn’t know I had epilepsy, it just happened, but he acted fast."

Fingers crossed James makes it to week four!

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.


Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

Follow her latest shopping & lifestyle advice, beauty insights and social antics on Instagram at @aleeshabadkar.


Twitter: @aleeshabadkar

LinkedIn: aleesha-badkar

Email: aleesha.badkar@futurenet.com