In December 2015 I had an accident whilst riding my Mountain bike at a charity event at Antur Stiniog in Wales, a simple mistake put me into a large rock at speed - the rock never moved ;)
I sustained a broken collarbone, cracked t5 vertebrae and a brachial plexus injury tearing out my C5 and C6 nerves from the spinal cord. This paralysed my dominant right arm and shoulder.
Coming to Terms
I have been back into Mountain biking for around 5/6 years, my skillset and speed on the trails were at an all-time high when I had my accident. 4 weeks previous I had won my 1st Downhill race at the ripe old age of 45, I felt comfortable on my bike and the confidence was showing.
To sustain an injury that stops you doing what you love is heartbreaking and I found myself struggling with the incredible pain that this injury brings. Best described as being randomly jabbed with red hot needles and being tazered at the same time. I found myself becoming depressed, not only at the thought of not riding again, but also not being able to do the basic things in life without help, my independence was gone. I was in pain, both mentally and physically
Support and Recovery
The support I received from family, friends, and even strangers who had heard my story was overwhelming, I started to research this injury and contacted support groups and individuals with similar problems. I found hope and a positivity that I hadn’t felt before, I wasn’t going to feel sorry for myself. I had my Nerve Reconstruction op in April 2016, that’s when the really hard work would start and I would strive to make the best recovery possible. The operation took 9 ½ hours with 3 surgeons working on me, now it was my turn. I was immobilised for a few weeks, then the physio started. I worked hard, braved the pain and within 3 months I was rewarded with my first muscle flicker in my bicep, not much but it was a sign of life and I could work on it. I got back on the bike, it was like learning to ride again, I had to physically put my hand on the grips and adapted to a new way of riding, my grip wasn’t the best but it would get stronger with time, steering was an issue but I soon learned to compensate. I am now 12 months post op, my elbow flexion is very good and getting stronger, my shoulder has tendonitis and is showing signs of recovery but with a longer Nerve transfer, this will take longer to recover.
I have been driving for over 6 mnths, I’m back at work, I can ride the rocky trails again, red and black routes (with caution) and enjoying what I can do, not dwelling on what I cant. Life is short, love it and live it.