In July of 2010, British mountain biker Dan Atherton sustained a terrifying injury. A crash, in which he landed on his head at his own dirt jumps in North Wales, resulted in a break of the C1 disc in his neck - a life threatening injury. After months off the bike, Atherton received positive results of a final CT scan, and he is cleared for riding and "full training".
Atherton's commitment and dedication which he usually puts into his riding went into getting him through his recovery. With months in a brace and none of his life's usual manic activity, there were low moments along the way and plenty of time for contemplation. He is determined to recover and return to the highest level of the sport according to a statement released by his team manager.
Dr. Robert Bray delivered the results of the final CT scan. Red Bull's Darren Roberts, the Atherton family's personal trainer, accompanied Dan and said, "The fractures have all healed and the tiny fragments of bone which are loose will be absorbed by the body over time. There was a slim possibility that an operation was going to be required to remove these - but thankfully that op is not needed.
"More importantly Dr Bray said the words we've been waiting to hear since July 2010, 'You're good to go Dan, totally healed - get back on your bike and get riding hard. Try not to break it again'."
Atherton is aiming to return to World Cup competition at the second round in Fort William, Scotland. He'll concentrate on downhill racing and aims to return to the podium glory he enjoyed prior to the incident.
Atherton, along with his racing siblings, teammates Gee and Rachel, gave thanks to all who supported him during the difficult time of the recovery.