Young American downhiller forced to delay World Cup debut
In an accident in training at last weekend's first round of the Gravity East Downhill Series at Massanutten Resort in Virginia, Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing) sustained a compound fracture of his arm and will have to miss the opening downhill World Cup round in Maribor, Slovenia, in mid-May.
"Obviously this is a huge blow for me, as I was so looking forward to the start of the World Cup season," said Mulally. "Right now Leogang is looking realistic to come back to racing, but we'll take it one week at a time."
"I think that I landed with my arm underneath my body on a rock or root that broke only that one bone. I'm just concentrating on recovering as best as I can".
Mulally fractured his radius bone, about three-quarters of the way down his lower arm toward his wrist. After waiting for the swelling to go down, Mulally visited an orthopedic specialist in Philadelphia, who regularly deals with sporting injuries, and the latest information is serious but not as bad as it could have been.
"Of the possible ways it could have broken, this is a very good scenario. It is unlikely that only one bone in the forearm breaks. It's very good because the other bone, the Ulna, is 100 percent fine and will hold the broken one in place as it heals."
While the bone has a compound fracture, it was not displaced much, approximately 10 percent off-set. The medical team did not need to set it, they just put his arm in a cast extending above the elbow joint. They predict that the bone will heal fine on its own.
Mulally will check in weekly with specialists on the progress of his healing. The current cast will be removed in two to three weeks and a smaller one placed on his forearm, and that will be there for a further one to two weeks. The doctors feel that he will be cast-free in four to five weeks and then start riding with a brace. At six weeks, he may be able to compete.
For now, the team is scrapping any plans of Mulally racing in Maribor or Fort William and will take a week by week assessment on having him ready to race for Leogang.
Trek World Racing Team Owner Martin Whiteley said, "I got the call just as we were going on air for the Freecaster four cross coverage at Houffalize, and of course we were all very upset for Neko. But it's not the end of the world, and he needs to stay focused on recovery, doing all he can with his coach and doctors to return 100 percent fit and strong at the appropriate time. Neko's a smart and responsible rider; I have 100 percent faith in his ability to manage this injury."
Mulally, still in high school, is awaiting the chance to begin his first downhill World Cup. Last year, he did a few runs, but was not allowed to officially compete because he was too young.