Six months on from the crash that left her in a coma, Amy Pieters is continuing to recover, partly at home. Dutch TV station NOS interviewed her father, who said that there was "progress but she can’t talk and can’t move her right arm and leg".
The SD Worx rider spends weekends at home before returning to a recovery centre in the Netherlands during the week.
This time last year, Pieters won the Dutch National Championship road race at her 12th attempt; 2022 will be the first time she has not taken part in the event since 2009.
“We don’t want to hide her away anymore,” Pieters’ father, Peter, says in the NOS Sport video. “So many people want to know how she is doing.”
“We see progress but she can’t talk and can’t move her right arm and leg. She spent three months in a coma, then she woke up but a very low level. She didn’t react much. She had to learn how to breath, then how to eat. She progressed from there on but had a big setback through an epilepsy attack which happens a lot in brain damage.”
Pieters crashed after a collision during a national track team training ride on December 23 in Calpe, Spain. She lost consciousness following the fall, and was taken via air ambulance to a hospital in Alicante.
She underwent surgery to relieve pressure on her brain, before being placed in an induced coma, which was later extended. Doctors then transferred Pieters to a hospital in the Netherlands in January, where she has remained under supervision for months.
During that time, she went through neurological rehabilitation treatment.
In February, SD Worx's manager, Danny Stam, said Pieters' situation remained "stable but not good", but that she was able to breathe independently. Stam also said the team is trying their best to help her family in this situation.
At the end of April, it was announced that Pieters had finally regained consciousness.
“We need to help her with everything but we are still hopeful," her father says in the film. "It takes so much time but the doctors still see the progress. Brain damage is different in everyone and the doctors tell us they can’t do anything. The brain needs to start and rewire by itself. These things take so much time.”
In the video, Pieters is shown smiling and reacting to her father when he touches her arm, and watching cycling on the television.
“She understands more and more if we ask her something,” Peter says. “She nods yes or no. She also starts to get her own way again. We hope she can move to a special facility for young people with brain damage where she has four hours of therapy a day. Then things could progress fast to learn everything again like walking and speaking.”
Stig Broeckx, the young Belgian rider who also spent time in a coma following a crash at the Tour of Belgium in 2016, is partly an inspiration to the Pieters family; the former cyclist is now able to walk and talk.
“Stig’s injury was a different one [than Amy’s] but he is still progressing six years after his accident. We would sign up to see Amy get this far,” Pieters’ father says.
The team at Cycling Weekly continues to wish Pieters a swift and complete recovery.
Ze zit weer naast haar vader aan tafel. Ze knikt naar hem, lacht af en toe instemmend. Soms is er een glimp te ontwaren van de oude @amypieters.Ze zal komende zaterdag haar nationale wielrentitel op de weg niet meer kunnen verdedigen. "Het is een hele lange weg." pic.twitter.com/oA2FgGwSQLJune 21, 2022
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