Rhodes and Yaxley bound for home

Australians Alexis Rhodes and Louise Yaxley will fly home from Germany soon after doctors this week...

Australians Alexis Rhodes and Louise Yaxley will fly home from Germany soon after doctors this week gave them the all clear to travel. The pair, along with Kate Nichols, Katie Brown, and Lorian Graham were injured last month when a teenage female driver lost control of her vehicle, crossed to the other side of the road and ploughed into the six member Australian women's team. Champion cyclist and Olympic rower, Amy Gillett (nee Safe) was killed instantly and the other five riders admitted to hospital with varying injuries. The team was training for the Thüringen Rundfahrt due to start the next day.

Nichols, Brown and Graham have already returned to Australia and Australian Institute of Sport Director, Professor Peter Fricker, says the doctors treating Rhodes and Yaxley have deemed it safe for them to fly home.

Rhodes suffered serious chest trauma and spinal injuries including fractures of parts of her thoracic spine and seven broken bones in her back. "Alexis underwent a procedure on the weekend to her left lung which went extremely well and has assisted in speeding her recovery," said Professor Fricker. "There are no complications and no signs of infection and this week she went for a half hour walk outside the hospital with no problems.

"When she returns home she will continue her rehabilitation and there will be some medical follow up work to make sure her lungs and broken bones continue to heal," he said.

Yaxley suffered head and chest trauma and sustained a puncture wound to her abdomen. She also suffered a broken wrist and severe grazes and abrasions to both arms and legs. She has already undergone successful skin graft surgery on her arms. "Louise is improving in leaps and bounds and because she's responded so well it's likely she'll have surgery in the next few weeks to remove the pins from her left wrist," said Professor Fricker. "There are no ongoing problems with the wound in her abdomen and her heart, lungs and liver are all terrific."

Yaxley will need, in the short term, assistance at home with feeding and dressing because of the skin grafts and surgery she has undergone on both arms. "I can't speak highly enough of the ongoing work of the doctors in Germany," said Professor Fricker. "They have not only excelled with the treatment they provided for all five women but they have now gone overboard to provide us with detailed medical histories covering the past month and recommendations for ongoing treatment.

"In a couple of months time after the girls have settled back in Australia we'll be extending an invitation for them to come to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra so they can undergo intensive daily physiotherapy," said Professor Fricker.

Amy's family and Cycling Australia have established the Amy Gillett-Safe Cycling Foundation to honour her memory. The Foundation will assist with the recovery of her injured team mates, fund a sporting and academic scholarship program for promising female cyclists, and promote road safety awareness amongst cyclists and motorists. People wishing to donate to the Foundation should visit the Cycling Australia website at www.cycling.org.au and follow the links from the home page.

Related stories:
August 14: Yaxley and Rhodes continue to make progress
August 8: More support for Gillett-Safe Cycling Foundation
August 3: Rhodes and Yaxley out of intensive care
July 29: Amy Gillett's life recalled in moving service
July 28: Rhodes and Yaxley recovery 'amazing'
July 24: Yaxley improving, Rhodes still unconscious
July 21: AIS head 'optimistic' about recovery; 'Brownie' tries his best
July 19: Unprecedented carnage in GermanyJuly 18: Amy Gillett dead after crash in Germany

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