Injury Update: Amanda Spratt on Flanders Crash

Tue 8 Apr 2014

Thirty minutes into the Tour of Flanders, Amanda Spratt hit the deck. Hard. Too hard to continue. Shaken and broken, she was taken to hospital to assess the damage. In her own words, Spratt gives us the detailed account of what happened on the roads in Belgium and how she views her road to recovery.

At the moment when I crashed, we were racing hard and fast. Gracie [Elvin] was in a break with one other rider, which was a great situation for us. I was near Emma [Johansson] and JMac [Jessie MacLean] near the front of the race when we came around a right-hand corner where spectators were standing pretty much on the road. We had minimal time to respond.

The spectators panicked and started to move out of the way. As I tried to dodge them, one of them moved in the same direction as me. There was no avoiding the impact. We were doing over 50 kilometres/hour, so we collided hard.

I hit my head hard and completely cracked my helmet, but luckily I didn’t lose consciousness. I have no skin off anywhere – just a couple little scratches. There are a few bruises on my head and knees.

My first reaction to the crash was that I had done something to my neck. That’s where I had the most pain. Immediately, that was the biggest concern. Initially, we thought I might have broken my neck.

As I tried to sit in the ambulance, I realized it was my collarbone. I knew straight away that it was broken. I could feel the bones grinding against each other. Funny enough, knowing it was my collarbone was almost a relief in a small way.

It’s my first time breaking my collarbone and my first major bone break I’ve heard that you’re not a real cyclist until you’ve broken a collarbone, so I’ve ticked that box now. It’s my badge of honour.

After x-rays confirmed that my clavicle was broken, I was booked for surgery the following day. They gave me a serious amount of painkillers to help me get through the night. Even I realised I was too dosed up on painkillers when I mistakenly thought a pizza crumb was my lost earring.

I now have a plate and screws in my collarbone to hold everything in place. I left the hospital yesterday, and I'm home now. I'll see an orthopaedic in two weeks time and start my rehab after that.

Despite feeling ok now, I am obviously disappointed. For the crash to happen at Flanders, at this stage in the season, is really disappointing. I had some pretty big goals coming up in the next races. It’s part of cycling, though. Now it’s about getting my rehab right, staying on top of everything and coming back strong again.