By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Bret Neylon (Heroes Foundation Cycling Team), a middle school history teacher and running coach from Brownsburg, Indiana, crashed while racing at the Summer Solstice road race in Wilmington, Ohio. Nylon, 39, suffered a fractured C3 vertebra causing him to lose all feeling from the shoulders down. Surgery was performed to fuse the C3 and C4 vertebrae and a plate was placed on the break to stabilise the bone.
The crash occurred during the finish sprint in front of Neylon, giving him no place to go. He was thrown from his bike and landed on his head. Friend and fellow cyclist Brent Dawes was the first on the scene. "He had a look on his face and a fear in his eyes, and he was just gasping for air," Dawes told the Indianapolis Star. "He kept saying, 'I can't move. I can't move.' That memory has been really hard for me."
While he is still in critical condition at hospital in Dayton, Ohio, Neylon has been making some steady progress - breathing for increasingly longer periods without the assistance of a ventilator and beginning physical therapy. Doctors are still unsure of the long-term prognosis at this time.
However, Neylon now needs to be moved to a special facility in Atlanta to begin his rehabilitation, with the transportation costs of almost $8,000 needed to be paid up front. A special support fund has been established and can currently cover about half of the transportation cost. For more information or to make an online donation, visit www.morristrucking.com/race/race.html.