To assist Keagan recover from this horrific accident and rehabilitate from the massive injuries sustained. Some of which are still unknown.
Keagan (Keagz) Girdlestone, born 30th April 1997 (19yr) is a Christchurch, New Zealand - based South African cyclist of continental Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.
After moving to Christchurch from Pretoria four years ago, Keagz is considered a rising star,
• 1st - In 2014 at the age of 16 he was the youngest winner of the 100km Christchurch to Akaroa race.
• 1st –Ronde des Vallees and Ain ‘Ternational-Rhone Alpes-Valromey Tour 2.1
• 4th - Junior World championships Time Trial (2015)
Further cycling stats on Keagz available on pro cycling stats website: www.procyclingstats.com/rider.php?id=192800&season=2015&s
Then tragedy struck……
“.. Success in Australia helped fast track him into the professional scene but tragedy has struck almost straight away”… (Source, nzherald.co.za)
The Italian Coppa della Pace, being only his 2nd race in Europe this year is where the tragedy struck, and on the 5 June 2016 at approximately the 119km into the 170km race Keagz was involved in an accident with the team car and suffered severe neck injuries which were life threatening, with initial reports being that Keagz had died from his injuries.
However, these initial reports were incorrect and the prompt action by Kevin Campbell (Team Dimension Data Sports Director) paramedics and the medical staff at Ospedale Infermi Di Rimini (hospital in Rimini Italy) all contributed to saving Keagz life.
He is still currently in intensive care with severe and complicated injuries but his condition has improved since being admitted on the 5th June 2016. Initial prognosis was that Keagz would not survive. True to form and defying all odds, Keagz is fighting back!
The road to a successful recovery is expected to be long and tough… Like all professional sport people, Keagz has the self-discipline, drive and most of all that fighting spirit that drives them to be the best and he will no doubt give that same commitment to his recovery …however long it takes
Regular updates on Keagz condition can be found at:
A special thanks to:
The prompt action by Kevin Campbell - Sports Director Team Dimension Data
The lifesaving medical support received by:
• the Paramedics on site – Conti Cristian, Schirru Annalisa, Ballarini Alem
• Doctors and Nurses of the Rimini Hospital
The Metalli family of the Hotel Betulla in Rimini for their extraordinary support to Des and Wayne
Robbie Hunter of Pro Touch Global Management
Chris Froome (2 x Tour de France winner from Team Sky), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension Data), for their personal messages of support
Keagans’ team and the Management from Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka
The cycling community at large from across all corners of the world who have sent messages of support and for family, friends, colleagues for their prayers and positive messages during this time of crisis that Keagz had to endure. These have been truly inspirational to the family and Keagz…Thank you!!
Friends and family are extremely concerned for Keagz and want to ensure that his parents can stay in Italy to support him during this challenging time. We also want to ensure that they are able to bring Keagan home as soon as the hospital will clear him to travel. That he has the best opportunity for a full recovery with access to the best medical care available.
In his own words; Keagan's long road to recovery 15 August 2016
I have been in the San Giorgio rehabilitation hospital in Ferrara, Italy since June 27, 2016. I have improved my gross motor skills which involve sitting, standing and walking. I’ve gone from collapsing after a mere five seconds of sitting, to being able to walk. My fine motor skills are improving but at a much slower rate.
The latest test results show that I still have no nerve or muscle activity in my right bicep, which means I can’t bend my right arm. This is the result of damage to my brachial plexus – a network of nerves located near the clavicle. The deltoid muscle in my right shoulder is only just showing activity and is exceptionally weak. The supraspinatus tendon in my shoulder is also not working.
If these nerves and muscles do not show activity within three months, surgery would be an option.
The damage is not too close to my spine so the risks associated surgery are relatively low. Of course, surgery is the worst-case scenario but at this stage it’s looking probable.
When I say my right arm doesn’t work, people assume it’s just weaker than it used to be. But no, I mean it actually doesn’t work. This is a long road to recovery.
There are many activities I used to take for granted that I now struggle with on a daily basis. Getting out of bed, showering, washing my hair, drying myself, getting dressed, spraying deodorant … feeding myself. Just being able to turn onto my side while lying in bed is difficult.
Each of these activities is an exercise in itself for me at the moment. Two weeks ago I fell over in the gym and couldn’t get up without assistance. That sucks — talk about a sitting duck!
My day starts at 8:30am. I eat breakfast and get dressed and then go to physio from 9:30am to 11:30am. I have vocal therapy from 11:30am to 12:30pm — my right vocal chord was damaged in the crash — and then it’s time for lunch! At 1:30pm I have “robots”, a machine workout for my arms, a second physio session goes from 2:30pm to 4:30pm and only after that can I have a break.
My days are pretty hard out. Heck, I’m training harder now than I ever did for cycling: five to seven hours a day, five days a week!
The fine motor skills on the left-hand side of my body were affected by a lack of blood and oxygen to the right side of my brain, in particular to the basal ganglia. Essentially I had a stroke.
I have movement but not without a lot of shaking. I spend more time chasing food around the plate than getting into in mouth. Further EMG (electromyography) tests are still being done.
My right vocal cord is paralysed and has not shown any improvement in the past month. However, my left vocal cord can compensate for this loss through continued vocal therapy. I still sound like Batman. I guess my audition on X-Factor is a long shot now.
Every day I have to work on everything; every part of my body. Hands, feet, fingers, voice, you name it — as a result I am tired all the time.
I am clinically stable enough to be repatriated to New Zealand, but flights and dates are still to be confirmed. I need to be escorted by a medical doctor and transferred to a hospital in Christchurch. So, even when I do get home, I actually don’t get to go home per se. But being in a familiar environment and being able to see my friends will be awesome for my morale and further recovery.
Thanks to everyone that’s offered messages of support in the past few months. I and my family appreciate it greatly.