VAN AERT, FIRST WALK AFTER THE ACCIDENT. AND THE DISCUSSION STARTS ABOUT THE TIME OF HIS RETURN

VAN AERT, FIRST WALK AFTER THE ACCIDENT. AND THE DISCUSSION STARTS ABOUT THE TIME OF HIS RETURN
VAN AERT, FIRST WALK AFTER THE ACCIDENT. AND THE DISCUSSION STARTS ABOUT THE TIME OF HIS RETURN

A week after his accident at Across Flanders, Wout van Aert has started to take his first steps and early this morning, from his home he walked to the center of Herentals, covering 4 kilometres. The Belgian wants to be optimistic and after publishing the route taken on foot, he wanted to add this comment: “Staying still means going back.”

In the fall, the Flemish rider from Visma-Lease a Bike suffered a polytrauma typical of road accidents, breaking several ribs, his collarbone and his sternum. The recovery will be long because, if the clavicle has been surgically repaired with a prognosis of around 4 weeks, the situation is very different for the ribs and sternum, which instead may take up to 6 weeks to fully settle.

In a press release the team announced the condition of its rider, but without indicating a date for his possible return to racing. «It is not clear when Wout will be able to cycle again. The next few weeks will be entirely dedicated to rehabilitation – Visma Lease wrote to Bike – As a result, he will not be able to participate in the Spring Classics. His participation in the Giro is uncertain. A decision on his rehabilitation will only be made in the coming weeks.”

Van Aert is as strong as the doctor who operated on him, Steven Claes, said, and he has a resilient body. «Given the circumstances, things are going quite well – Claes said on Thursday evening -. The operation went according to plan, but obviously there are injuries that cannot be solved with surgery alone. These are combinations of complex injuries more important than a simple collarbone fracture. With complex combinations like these, you need to fine-tune them one by one. In Wout’s case, unfortunately there were many.”

It will therefore be a long recovery for Van Aert, but the doctor is certain that things will go in the right direction. «The thing about athletes like van Aert is that they can flip a kind of switch very quickly. It’s amazing how emotionally strong and resilient most of these athletes are. Spring has clearly come to an end and there is no going back. Round? I don’t like talking about it. For a runner with such a serious injury, it’s important to have something to hold on to and being able to see improvements day after day. Obviously it is certainly not reassuring for the mind to immediately set those objectives which are quite distant and concrete in the future.”

After the accident and the surgery, there were also statements from the Belgian national team doctor Kris van der Mierenwho with concern saw a recovery in view of the Giro as complicated and also placing a question mark on the Olympics.

«Normally these damages are only seen in serious road accidents, it is called polytrauma. There is usually physical damage but also a significant mental impact – declared Van der Mieren -. First of all, fractures must heal. Then the collarbone fracture will heal more quickly. Rib fractures are generally allowed to heal spontaneously. There are surgical techniques for this, but Spontaneous recovery is usually the best option. And obviously this also takes time, we’re talking about three to six weeks.”

Then there is Kris van der Mieren the risk of returning too early, which could cause serious damage if it falls again. “Fall on those ribs again can lead to lung collapse and this can even be fatal if there is no doctor nearby. And then of course you also have fracture of the sternum. The sternum is a very strong and thick bone that is located at a crucial point in our body, just above the heart. If you fall on it you risk causing heart damage».

The Belgian doctor has no doubts about the Giro and defines it as risky. «I think it would be a success if Wout could return to racing after two months. Because obviously before you also need to be able to train qualitatively. At first this will have to be done mainly on the reels. Now I say this a bit like I’m a father, but if Wout were my son I would never let him participate in the Giro».

However, the Belgian Cycling doctor, Tom Teulingkx, has different ideas. who is looking at a faster recovery, with the possibility of being at the start of the pink race.

«The best athletes often receive different treatment than most people. The average patient with a non-complex clavicle fracture is given a brace and painkillers and is advised not to exercise for a while – explained Teuligkx -. An elite athlete undergoes surgery to repair the bone. Every operation involves a risk and represents a cost for society, but Getting back to training faster is often the best solution».

There are wounds on the skin, which if particularly deep, will cause pain for a long time and therefore rest, in certain cases, continues to be the best solution for returning to activity sooner.

«Rest, rest, rest is always the determining factor in healing. But saying: wait another two weeks for better recovery, is not the ideal language to speak to a top athlete. High level sport is “unhealthy”, we know it. It’s about seeking compromises. Even the best athletes aren’t robots you can just fool. It’s a difficult balance to skillfully weigh what is medically responsible and what is medically feasible.”

For the moment the road is long and to know when Van Aert will be able to return to competition we will have to wait a few more weeks and understand how his body is reacting.

 
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