By Shane Stokes
The prognosis for injured US rider Saul Raisin is continuing to improve after the 23 year-old came out of his coma on Wednesday. Family friend Shane Adams has been providing internet and email updates to many concerned fans and friends of Raisin, and was upbeat about the latest developments.
"The speed of Saul's recovery continues to astound his doctors," said Adams. "He is becoming more and more aware of his surroundings, waving at people entering and leaving the room. His uncle Phil is there [in Europe] now and Saul waved as he left the room this morning."
Adams has been in regular contact with the family and he reports that doctors at the hospital in Angers are hoping to take Raisin off the ventilator on Thursday. He had been put on one a week ago in order to take pressure off his body, and improve his chances of recovering from the haemorrhage he suffered.
Once Raisin is off the ventilator, the doctors will make the next move in his rehabilitation, assessing him to see what damage may have been done due to the after-effects of his crash on stage one of the Circuit de la Sarthe. The hospital had thought there was a risk of paralysis but that now does not appear to be the case. However, it is important to determine if any other damage has been suffered.
"They are hoping to move Saul into another wing of the hospital as he becomes more aware of what is going on, in order to give him a full neurological work up," said Adams. "Like everything he does in his life, Saul is going full speed towards a rapid recovery."
The Circuit de la Sarthe crash is the third big accident of Raisin's career. In 2003 he had a bad fall during the Trans Alsace race, while last year he was hit by a motorbike during the Four Days of Dunkirk, breaking his collarbone, some ribs and his hip. Doctors expected him to be out of action for six weeks but he bounced back within that timeframe to not only return to training, but to actually compete in the Tour de Suisse. He finished a solid 37th there and then continued his recovery, going on to take ninth place overall in the Deutschland Tour and to scoop the King of the Mountains jersey in the Tour de l'Avenir.
Adams has known the family for a long time, training regularly with Saul's father Jim as part of the Pinch Phlat MTB/Adventure Racing team. He says they are a tough and determined set of people. "Saul is a remarkable young man both on and off the bike and his family, Jim and Yvonne, are no less remarkable. What you see is what you get with the Raisins, and that is rare in this day and age. This kid, and family, are scrappers and they will fight for a full recovery. Although tragedy has surely landed on their doorstep, I know that good things will come from this...I am confident in that fact and hope to be proven correct in the coming days."
(Messages of support for Saul and his family can be posted in the guestbook at www.saulraisin.com)