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Australian Institute of Sport team members Alexis Rhodes and Louise Yaxley remain heavily sedated at the Uni Klinik in Jena after they were in collision with a car during a training ride on Monday. All five riders injured when a vehicle driven by an 18-year-old German woman reportedly crossed onto their side of the road are now in the same hospital after Lorian Graham was transferred overnight. She is now sharing a room with team-mates Kate Nichols and Katie Brown.
The parents of the cyclists have agreed to the release of factual information on their daughters' injuries following speculation in the media based on inaccurate information and rumours that has caused distress to friends and family members. "They want everyone to know they are optimistic about their daughters' recovery and extremely satisfied with the treatment they are receiving," said AIS sport director Professor Peter Fricker.
"Louise and Alexis are the most critically injured but both are very fit and strong and we have reason to be optimistic about their recovery," Prof. Fricker said. The latest information on the condition of the injured riders is as follows:
Alexis Rhodes, 20: Remains in a critical but stable condition in intensive care. She has suffered serious chest trauma and spinal injuries and will require further surgery. She has fractures of parts of her thoracic spine and seven broken bones in her back. There is no evidence at this stage that her spinal cord has been damaged. There are bone fragments near her spinal cord and doctors will operate to remove those in due course. Doctors are keeping Alexis unconscious, on an automatic ventilator and will not wake her until they believe it is medically safe to do so. She is expected to remain in hospital for 4 - 6 weeks.
Louise Yaxley, 23: Remains in a critical but stable condition in intensive care. Louise underwent further surgery last night to stabilise her condition. She has a small blood clot in her brain which is not causing any major problem at this stage and is being monitored by doctors. She has also suffered chest trauma and a puncture wound to her abdomen. She has a broken arm and severe damage to both arms and legs (grazing and abrasions which have stripped the skin from her limbs) that will require plastic surgery. Louise is also heavily sedated and on an automatic ventilator. Doctors will not wake her until it is medically safe to do so. She is expected to remain in hospital for 4 - 6 weeks.
Katie Brown, 21: Remains in a satisfactory condition after surgery on both her left knee and right leg. She also has fractures of three bones in her left wrist and her left ring finger is broken. Doctors expect her to be released from hospital in two or three weeks.
Lorian Graham, 27: Remains in a satisfactory condition after surgery. She has a fracture of her right collar bone and the patella in her left knee. Doctors have fixed tension wire to her knee to support it. Her left arm has some abrasions but we are not aware of any fractures of her left arm or collar bone.
Kate Nichols, 20: Remains in a satisfactory condition after surgery to repair tendon damage in her right hand and fingers. Doctors have splinted her hand and fingers to minimise scar tissue and to assist in the return of full mobility in her hand. She has a small piece of glass in her eye which doctors will remove if necessary. Multiple abrasions and doctors removed a lot of glass from her wounds but she is already undergoing physiotherapy and expected to be released from hospital in a week or so.
Cycling Australia national performance director Shayne Bannan said the arrival of families and friends in Jena has lifted everyone's spirits. "Last night Australian cyclists, Sara Carrigan, Olivia Gollan, Oenone Wood and Kate and Natalie Bates along with family and friends crowded into Kate, Katie and Lorian's hospital room for a visit," said Bannan. "It was a really positive experience for everyone and it was obvious to everyone the amazing women in the cycling program love each other very much and will do whatever they need to do to support each other through this tragedy."
Carrigan, Gollan, Wood and the Bates sisters came to the hospital from the second stage of the Tour of Thueringen race. The first stage was cancelled due to the tragic accident and the organisers of the race instead held a memorial service for Amy Gillett, who died in the incident. The 60 competitors chose not to race during the second stage but rode from Zeulenroda to Greiz under neutral conditions with the seven remaining Australians in the race crossing the line a little way ahead of the rest of the field as a mark of respect for Amy and support for the injured riders.
Simon Gillett, husband of Amy, has arrived in Germany to take her body home. He has visited the site of the tragedy, where a simple wooden cross bearing his wife's name was placed by mourners during the memorial service. Amy Gillett's family have confirmed a funeral will be held for her in Ballarat next Friday July 29, followed by a memorial service.
Cycling Australia has established an email link for people who wish to send condolence messages to the family of Amy Gillett or to pass on their thoughts and wishes to those injured. Go to www.cycling.org.au and follow the link on the home page. Message can also be sent via the Australian Sports Commission website www.ausport.gov.au
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