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African champion recovering after bad bike crash in US
- Updated: October 1, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
African Youth Games women’s champion Madelaine le Roux is on the mend after breaking her collar bone at the recent ITU World Triathlon Grand Final event in Chicago, United States.
Le Roux was racing the junior girls division in the US when she crashed early on in the bike leg and had to be hospitalised.
She returned to South Africa this week and was successfully operated on in Bloemfontein.
Speaking to Road to Rio 2016 as she began her long road to recovery, the plucky 18-year-old, pictured in hospital above, explained how her injury came about.
‘I fell off in the first 3km of the bike leg. I felt really bad when I came out of the water because I nearly “drowned” a few times on the swim. The girls were very rough and I had my head grabbed and held under the water. So I was very confused when I came out of the water and my mom actually suspects that I had a blackout on the bike before I fell.
‘I came around a 360º turn, stood up to begin pedalling and then my hands slipped off the handlebars.
‘I’ve been out for almost two weeks now. So I had the operation on Tuesday and the doctors had to put a plate in to help knit my collarbone together. I have to go back to the doctor in two weeks and hopefully the sling will come off and I can start moving my arm.
‘But for now there’s no exercise and I’m going to be out for at least eight weeks before I can start rehabilitation, maybe a bit earlier, depending on what the doctors say.
‘At least I’ve been given the green light to do some light pedalling on the stationary exercise bike although I have to sit upright and not stress my body but at least I’ll stay “sane” by being allowed to exercise.’
Already Le Roux has other fixtures on her calendar. ‘It’s my matric farewell this weekend! My mom’s going to make me a sling that will match my dress… so this will no doubt be a day that I won’t forget in a hurry!’
More specifics regarding her injured left collarbone. ‘Well the doctors in America said it was a clean and stable break but they were either incorrect or the bones must have shifted during the two long flights back to South Africa.’
As luck would have it, Le Roux is no stranger to shoulder problems. Twelve years ago and aged just six, she was in a motor accident that saw her right shoulder bone broken.
Talk about getting the balance right …