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The family of Saul Raisin have said that the Crdit Agricole rider is showing signs of improvement as his treatment continues following his crash on the first stage of last week's Circuit de la Sarthe. Speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday, the rider's uncle, Johnny Raisin, said: "Today he had a real good day. Everybody's excited about it. We just hope he keeps improving. But [doctors] said it might not be a good day every day."
Johnny Raisin also explained that his nephew had responded to questions by squeezing his parents' hands at the hospital in Angers. The rider's parents, Jim and Yvonne, have been told he is about two weeks ahead of schedule in coming out of his coma.
A family friend, Shane Adams, told the Atlanta paper that earlier reports of Raisin being placed in a medically-induced coma were not entirely accurate. He said Raisin's parents had told him that trauma caused the coma, but doctors placed the cyclist on a ventilator "so all his energy would go into healing".
Fears that Raisin might have suffered paralysis in some parts of his body were allayed by him being able to move all of his fingers and toes. "If anybody's going to pull through, it's Saul," said Adams. "He's a fighter, a kid with character and a huge will to survive and succeed to the fullest."
Raisin's family and his team's doctors have vigorously denied reports that an epileptic seizure caused the accident. Crdit Agricole team manager Roger Legeay told VeloNews that Raisin "couldn't remember how he crashed. Maybe he hit a tyre or something in the road".
A message on the rider's website confirmed news of Raisin's improvement. Posted on Tuesday it said: "Saul has had a good day, responding to questions about events and people and things from his past by squeezing his parents' hands. He was also able to move all of his fingers and toes. Please keep him in your thoughts as there is still a long road ahead."
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