Atherton cracks vertebrae in crash

Mountain biker immobilised as a precaution

Dan Atherton is in Shrewsbury hospital after fracturing two vertebrae earlier this week. Atherton had been riding dirt jumps at Llanfyllin, United Kingdom, on Tuesday when he sustained the injury after landing awkwardly on his head in a crash.

Atherton Racing director Dan Brown revealed details about the accident. “Dan was taken to Shrewsbury hospital in a ambulance where they X-rayed his upper spine,” he said. “The results confirmed a fracture to his C2 vertebrae with a further CT scan confirming another fracture to his C1 vertebrae.

“On the positive side, Dan has full movement in all his limbs and at present there is no damage to the nerves that pass through the central spinal column,” said Brown. “Dan remains immobilised for precautionary measures while currently awaiting a transfer to the orthopaedic unit in Oswestry, a hospital the Athertons know well and one that is luckily renowned as the best unit in the country.”

It’s the second major injury to hit the Atherton family – which includes brother Gee and sister Rachel – in as many years. The trio were training in Santa Cruz, California, last year when Rachel separated her shoulder after being struck by a pick-up truck. The incident wiped out Rachel’s season and she underwent two surgeries, including a nerve graft.

Brown is hopeful that the 2008 four cross World Champion will be back on a bike before 2011. “As long as everything goes to plan with his recovery, we should hopefully see Dan on a bike by the end of the year,” he said.

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