Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Accident.

An early morning flight saw myself and Ellie Richardson off to Rotterdam for the Ahoy 6day race! After a quick journey over there we were greeted at Amsterdam airport and taken to our hotel. We quickly unpacked our bikes, and our lift was here to take us to the velodrome. There was time for a quick ride on the track, which I’m glad we had, as I’ve never been on a 200m track and it certainly felt different. The atmosphere was great and the stadium seemed pretty much full - perfect for a great evening! Firstly I raced Laurine Van Riessen in the head to head sprint, which I managed to win.

After this I was then into the final and racing Elis Ligtlee, also from the Netherlands. Unfortunately this is where the evening took a turn for the worst. I remember leaning on the fence ready to roll up onto the track after watching the others finish their race.. and then next I was in hospital blurring in and out of consciousness. Elis and myself had collided and been in a severe crash.

Image from Cycling 
At this point I wasn't in any pain as I was conscious for only a matter of seconds at a time. Fentanyl is deemed to be 50 times stronger than morphine so its pretty good stuff! Ellie told me the first thing I said on the way into hospital was 'did I win' shortly followed by 'can you take a picture for banter'.. at least I could see the funny side!
Having never crashed previously other than at the Senior Europeans in October last year, I had definitely made up for it with this one causing more damage than was initially thought.

Image from Cycling
The first obvious injury was the large degloving cut to my right flank which went as deep as my spine exposing my lumboscrmal vertebrae. It can definitely be described as looking like a shark bite! To my neck I suffered a fracture to C3 and a C5/C6 prolapsed disc. My pelvis had also been fractured and dislocated. However, it was my back that took the worst hit. I had multiple fractures of the transverse processes from L1-L5, L4/L5 spinous process fractures as well as a L5-S1 dislocation. So yeah pretty much everything!

Doctors and surgeons were unable to confirm longterm outcome as paralysis was still an uncertainty, with the damages to my neck AND back being millimetres from my spinal cord. Whatever the outcome I was in the best place possible - as Erasmus hospital was ranked highly for trauma in Europe. For this I will be forever thankful.

A big shout out to Ellie who deserves a massive thank you for staying so calm and managing to contact all the important people in my life..

V x



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