AIS pair soon to head home

AIS riders Alexis Rhodes and Louise Yaxley have been given the all-clear to return to Australia afte

AIS riders Alexis Rhodes and Louise Yaxley have been given the all-clear to return to Australia afte

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Australian Institute of Sport riders Alexis Rhodes and Louise Yaxley are set to fly home from Germany soon after doctors gave them the all clear to travel this week. The pair were badly injured last month when a car crossed onto their side of the road while they were training with the AIS team for a stage race in Germany. Champion cyclist and Olympic rower Amy Gillett was killed instantly and three other riders - Kate Nichols, Katie Brown and Lorian Graham - were admitted to hospital with varying injuries.

Nichols, Brown and Graham have already returned to Australia, and AIS sports director Professor Peter Fricker says the doctors treating Rhodes and Yaxley have deemed it safe for them to fly home. Flight details will not be released as both the riders and their families have indicated they will not speak to media on the day they arrive home. Media interviews with both riders will be arranged based on advice from the riders as to their willingness and availability contingent on their treatment and rehabilitation schedules.

Rhodes suffered serious chest trauma and spinal injuries including fractures of parts of her thoracic spine and seven broken bones in her back. "Alexis underwent a procedure on the weekend to her left lung which went extremely well and has assisted in speeding her recovery," said Professor Fricker. "There are no complications and no signs of infection and this week she went for a half hour walk outside the hospital with no problems.

"When she returns home she will continue her rehabilitation and there will be some medical follow up work to make sure her lungs and broken bones continue to heal," he said.

Yaxley suffered head and chest trauma, and sustained a puncture wound to her abdomen. She also suffered a broken wrist and severe grazes and abrasions to both arms and legs. She has already undergone successful skin graft surgery on her arms.

"Louise is improving in leaps and bounds, and because she's responded so well it's likely she'll have surgery in the next few weeks to remove the pins from her left wrist," said Professor Fricker. "There are no ongoing problems with the wound in her abdomen and her heart, lungs and liver are all terrific."

Yaxley will need, in the short term, assistance at home with feeding and dressing because of the skin grafts and surgery she has undergone on both arms. "I can't speak highly enough of the ongoing work of the doctors in Germany," said Professor Fricker. "They have not only excelled with the treatment they provided for all five women but they have now gone overboard to provide us with detailed medical histories covering the past month and recommendations for ongoing treatment.

"In a couple of months time after the girls have settled back in Australia we'll be extending an invitation for them to come to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra so they can undergo intensive daily physiotherapy," said Professor Fricker.

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