In July of 2010 British mountain biker, Dan Atherton, sustained a terrifying injury. A crash at his own dirt jumps in North Wales resulted in a break of the C1 Disc in his neck. Just about the worst injury a rider could sustain and survive.
Dan’s constant commitment and dedication that he puts into his riding was then needed to get him through the recovery. With months in a brace and none of his life’s usual manic activity, there were low moments along the way and plenty of time for contemplation.
Dan’s determination to recover was only enhanced by his desire to return to the highest level of the sport that he has achieved so much success in before.
On January 20, Dan received the results of a final CT scan from Dr Robert Bray, the spinal specialist who has been overseeing his treatment.
Red Bull’s Darren Roberts, the Atherton family's personal trainer, accompanied Dan and had this to report: “The fractures have all healed and the tiny fragments of bone which are loose will be absorbed by the body over time, there was a slim possibility that an operation was required to remove these - but thankfully that op is not needed."
More importantly Dr Bray said the words we've been waiting to hear since July 2010, "you're good to go Dan, totally healed - get back on your bike and get riding hard. Try not to break it again."
It is with great happiness that we can announce Dan is now back on a bike and in full training. This moment was never a certainty as the injury to the C1 Disc was one of the most serious ever seen. With strength and conditioning training to get him back to full race fitness, his aim is to return to World Cup competition at the second round of the series in Fort William, Scotland.
Concentrating on the discipline of downhill he’s hoping to take his new Commencal Supreme bike back to the podium glory he enjoyed before this incident.
The Atherton team and family would like to thank all the sponsors and friends that have stood by Dan through this difficult time and worked with him to get back to this point where he can continue to shine in a sport to which he has brought so much of his unique attitude, style and speed.
Here’s to the return of Dan Atherton to his rightful place – on a bike.
You can stay in touch with the Athertons and team Commencal via Twitter http://twitter.com/athertonracing and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/athertonracing and the teams' website http://athertonracing.co.uk/
Watch all of the episodes of The Atherton Project Season 2 here