The Man Who Lost Himself

June Callwood, Terry Evanshen

On July 4, 1988, CFL Hall of Famer Terry Evanshen was a happily married father of three with a successful second career in sales. The day was sunny and hot, and Evanshen was driving his new Jeep Cherokee, heading home to join his family for a barbecue, when a van running a stoplight smashed into his vehicle.

For two weeks, Evanshen was in a coma, close to death. His brain had been bashed around inside his skull and starved of oxygen for a crucial few moments. When he awoke, he did not recognize his wife Lorraine, or his daughters or his friends. He did not know who he was. Every memory of his life until the accident had been destroyed, his ability to remember new things wiped out, and his personality largely annihilated. The football player who had fumbled the ball only three times in his fourteen-year career now could not catch at all.

In The Man Who Lost Himself, June Callwood describes Evanshen’s slow, difficult struggle to build a sense of who he is. The compelling story she tells is about how the exceptionally strong love of his wife and daughters (and dog, Rebel) helped Evanshen through long years of frustration and rage. It’s a story about how the brain works and the effects of brain damage on personality and identity. It’s a story about how today Terry Evanshen is managing a third successful career, giving motivational speeches at conventions and company gatherings, telling his audience how he overcame perhaps the most immense obstacle anyone could ever face. 

The Man Who Lost Himself is a fascinating and inspiring and unflinchingly honest story told by one of Canada’s most skilful and compassionate writers.