Champion hand-cyclist Rachel Morris is facing a battle to be fit for the Paralympics after being hit from behind by a car during a time trial near Guildford.
She was six minutes into the event when a car ran into her, leaving her with whiplash and shoulder injuries. The impact was severe and destroyed the off-side wheel of her bike.
“The bike went up into the air. I remember looking across and I was aware that I was at the same height as the passengers in a car passing in the outside lane,” she said.
The incident has put her plans to compete in next month’s Paralympic Games in jeopardy. Her condition, reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), causes extreme pain and related sensory abnormalities.
Her body reacts in a damaging way to injury which means that an accident like this impacts her more seriously and comprises recovery.
“This has totally screwed me up,” she added. “I feel like everything I’ve worked for has been taken away. I can’t imagine not being there, but I know how long it has taken me to recover from this type of injury before, and it was longer than I now have before the Games.”
Morris has been a cornerstone of the Great Britain’s Paralympic squad for a number of years. She made her debut in Beijing, winning a gold medal in the time trial. More recently, she won gold in both the time trial and road race at the 2010 world championships and bronze in the road race in 2011.
She has already been to the GB Cycling Team’s HQ in Manchester to visit the GB team’s doctor, Richard Freeman, for an assessment of the damage to her shoulder and to begin the process of having her bike replaced.