Johan Musseuw is said to have suffered brain damage in his August 2000 motorcycle accident, leaving him with “frontal syndrome” which causes personality disorders. The Belgian cycling legend discussed the aftermath of the accident in Belgian magazine Humo this week.
In August 2000, Musseuw was riding his Harley-Davidson along with his wife and son. An car attempted to pass him at the same time that the cyclist started a left hand turn. His wife and son received only minor injuries, but he suffered multiple fractures including his fibula, ribs and eye socket, as well as bleeding in his brain.
'Frontal lobe syndrome' causes behaviour and personality changes, including distraction, restlessness, a lack of inhibitions, and changes in memory.
"Since that crash, I am a different person," Musseuw said. "I knew I had suffered brain damage, but the severity of the case did not dawn on me immediately. I was working on my comeback in the peloton. It was the fibula fracture that had me more worried. "
From the beginning it was clear that there were problems. "At the hospital I did strange things," he said. "I accidentally broke the thumb of a nurse and I called Eddy Merckx to say that I still would participate in the Olympic Games, after the road race has been ridden.
“In other words, I was half gone mad.”
Musseuw refused the drugs and therapy he was offered. "I don't need it, because I now find myself to be a better person than before," he said. "That really totally unrestrained behavior after two years has become normal. I'm a different Johan Musseuw, but I have only good things left over [from his earlier personality]."