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NZ wounded warrior - Brett Tivers
Jul 9th, 12. When Kiwi international Brett Tivers hit the deck at the end of a US race in late April he came away with a broken collarbone, but he later found that was not his worst injury.
After six hours of waiting in the hospital, he was diagnosed with what he already knew - a broken collarbone.
What he did not know at the time was the impact hitting the deck had had on his brain - a serious concussion.
"The crash happened at the end of April and after initial CT scans gave me the all clear, everyone simply thought the broken collarbone was the main issue and that I would be out for a few weeks then back into the swing of things," Tivers told RoadCycling.co.nz
"But as the weeks continued and the effects of the concussion were continuing, if not worsening, I began to realise the severity of the crash and the impact on the rest of the season."
"From what has been told to me [Tivers has no recollection of the crash] , whilst we were single file a lapse of concentration by some riders in front of me lead to a high speed clip of wheels and I had nowhere to go but simply over the top of several riders at 60km/hr with full impact on my shoulder/head. I then slid down the road on my back and head."
"I have no recollection of the crash, nor directly afterwards. I woke up on the way to hospital a fair amount of time after the crash (only a few km from hospital). I have flashbacks of the head hitting the ground hard and then lights out," he said.
Tivers said his symptoms were profound - sleeping a lot, and having significant headaches. He had tests done at a private concussion clinic in Quebec, his international season home, and the results were not encouraging.
"The prognosis was simply rest, which meant very limited computer, TV, music, reading, and no exercise. No brain stimulation was allowed which made for some very boring weeks. Even coffee is off limits"
"With the concussion there is really no time frame of recovery, it's just simply a take it week by week approach. The private concussion clinic have been good at giving me a frame to work within to rehabilitate the brain."
Seven weeks after the crash, Tivers was able to do 15min of riding and balance exercies in a controlled environment.
"One thing out of all of this is that concussion requires patience and you have to really listen to the body. Simply doing too much of everyday tasks can lead to taking one step back in progress.
For Tivers, who won almost a dozen races last international season, it was been a very frustrating injury. It happened early in the season, and there was, and is, no clear path for getting back to training let alone racing.
Now back in Taranaki, Tivers is trying to limit his activities and adjust mentally as well as physically to what is in effect a medically requested sedentary lifestyle.
"If I'm at status quo then things are fine but if I do too much of everyday stuff then I get headaches, tired and irritable,
too much noise is also bad for the head.
"It is going to be a bit longer before I can do any increase in physical activity, so it's just pretty much rest and do as little as possible ... and listen to the doctors for once," he said.
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