Ballan could lose a kidney after crash

Alessandro Ballan may be facing the loss of one of his kidneys, after losing his spleen and fracturing his femur and three ribs in a training camp crash. The BMC rider had surgery on the femur Friday, his second operation within 24 hours. His spleen was removed in emergency surgery shortly after the crash.

Ballan has been kept sedated Thursday night, but doctors expected to gradually return him to consciousness today if there were no further complications. The surgery on his left femur occurred Friday evening.

One of the complications which may arise concerns his left kidney, which took a blow in the crash. “We did not give permission for him to be moved to another hospital because of that,” doctor Kiko Llacer told Gazzetta. “Currently the internal bleeding has stopped and we are optimistic. But any further problems would lead to a decision to remove the kidney, which we want to and believe can be avoided, as in this case it would mean that his career is in danger.”

Keeping him unconscious is standard procedure after abdominal surgery, Llacer said. “This practice is also used to prevent the patient from suffering severe pain. Moreover, in the case of an emergency, it is better to have the patient already stabilized.  If, as we think, there will be no complications, Alessandro can go home in a week.”

His wife Daniela has been the only one allowed to visit him. She flew from Bergamo to Valencia at dawn on Friday -- “the longest night of my life.  I could not even close one eye. Her husband called her before the first surgery “to tell me not to worry.”

After the second surgery, when she had seen him, she said, “the worst is over.  Alessandro is strong, has a great temperament, and they are hopeful.”

Gazzetta also reported on details of how the crash happened, saying that Ballan was reaching down for his water bottle when the teammate immediately in font of him slowed down. Ballan was unable to stop, and still in the saddle, flew into the mountainside at a speed of 50-55 km/h. It is believed that the handlebars impacted with his spleen. He never lost consciousness and in fact walked to the ambulance.

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