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Dakar 2018: Sam Sunderland update

Published: 11 January 2018

Following his untimely retirement, while leading the Dakar, Sam Sunderland is making a fast recovery and is expected to fly back to Europe later on this evening (Thursday).

Sunderland suffered a huge impact on his factory KTM during stage four of this years event when he dropped into an unseen sand pocket at high speed as he searched for a Way Point. Although he didn’t actually crash, such was the impact and pain that he soon started losing feeling in his legs. And when he could literally not feel or use his legs, he stopped riding and was evacuated from the stage by helicopter to be assessed by the medical team, before being flown to hospital in Lima.

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Speaking exclusively to MCN from the Clinica Anglo Americano hospital in Peru, he said: “I’ve squashed the two discs at the bottom of my back and the reason I couldn’t feel my legs was because it was pressing on to my spinal column. The prognosis is that it should settle down pretty fast. It’s a case of seeing how things go over the next week or so, but I really want to avoid any sort of surgery. I’m already able to get up out of bed and walk to the bathroom which is good. I’m not in so much pain, the medication has been good, although I told them today that I don’t want to take anymore unless I really have to.”

“It’s just disappointing that its happened at the Dakar. I’ve had a good year leading up to it, I was riding well and everything was under control. I was relaxed, I wasn’t pushing hard, I wasn’t stressed. I was keeping calm and taking each day as it comes, but this is Dakar!”

For full in depth interview see MCN out Wednesday 17th January.

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