The management of South African cyclist Keagan Girdlestone, has detailed the extent of the horrific injuries the 19-year-old sustained when he crashed into the back of his team car at a race in Italy earlier this month, saying that both his cartoid artery and jugular vein were severed.
Girdlestone, who rides for Dimension Data’s UCI Continental development team, went through the rear windscreen of the vehicle when it braked sharply on a descent during the Coppa della Pace race in the Emilia-Romagna region. He remains in intensive care in hospital in Rimini.
In a statement published on his Facebook page, his management team said: “Contrary to initial reports, Keagz did not sustain any facial injuries. The critical injuries were sustained to his neck and throat. He severed not only the cartoid artery, but the jugular vein, nerve and muscles.
“Due to major loss of blood at the scene as well as the time it took to get him to surgery, the right hand side of his brain was starved of blood and oxygen. He also sustained bruising of his brain due to the impact as well as vocal cord damage. At this stage the full extent of his injuries is unknown as well as the period of rehabilitation.
“He is breathing on his own but with difficulty as one of the nerves controlling his diaphragm has been damaged. He has limited movement of his left side due to the lack of oxygen to the brain however this is showing signs of improvement. The right side, which is being affected by nerve damage, is also limited. He is able to move his leg and squeeze his hand, but there is no movement of his arm.
“With continued rehabilitation it is hoped that all functionality will improve as time passes. However, any possible long term effects are still unknown.”
The statement concluded: “Your continued support, prayers and positivity is greatly appreciated by Keagz and his family.”
Originally from South Africa, Girdlestone moved with his family to New Zealand several years ago and is now based in Italy.
Among those to have sent him messages support are Tour de France champion Chris Froome, and Dimension Data’s Edvald Boasson Hagen.
A fund has been set up to help with the costs of Girdlestone’s rehabilitation, with donations now in excess of NZ$20,600 (£10,000).
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.