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Egan Bernal is good spirits but facing further minor surgeries for crash injuries

Giro d'Italia 2021 - 104th Edition - 9th stage Castel di Sangro - Campo Felice (Rocca di Cambio) 158 km - 16/05/2021 - Egan Bernal (COL - Ineos Grenadiers) - photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2021
(Image credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo)

Egan Bernal is in good spirits and his recovery is continuing with a favourable trend, doctors in Colombia have explained, but he will undergo two additional minor surgeries on Saturday to treat a fractured metacarpal in his right hand and to manage dentoalveolar fractures in his mouth.  

Bernal has been in the intensive care unit of the Clínica Universidad de La Sabana in Bogota since Monday after he collided with a bus that stopped to drop off passengers. He was riding his time trial bike on the highway and hit the rear of the bus at a reported 60kph. He fractured vertebrae, his right femur, his right patella and ribs, as well as suffering chest trauma and a punctured lung.

Bernal’s teammate and friend Brandon Rivera is now also in the Clínica Universidad de La Sabana after crashing while training nearby on Thursday. He is being treated for a fractured and dislocated elbow.

Bernal was successfully extubated Tuesday after surgery on his femur, knee and spine. Doctors confirmed that he could move all four of his extremities and Bernal’s family have been able to visit him, with his mother Marina Flor Gomez writing on Instagram: "My happiness can be compared to what I felt 25 years ago because I felt that my son was born again." 

“Egan Bernal Gómez has continued with the expected recovery and with a favorable trend,” a statement released overnight by the Clínica Universidad de La Sabana said.

“Egan continues with his rehabilitation plan, he has not shown signs of infection, he is also in good spirits and thanks to his improvement his vasopressor medication was withdrawn.”

Vasopressor medication is used to treat low blood pressure.

The two additional surgeries are scheduled for Saturday and suggest Bernal has a series of minor injuries as well as those to his vertebrae, femur and knee and his chest trauma and punctured lung.

“In addition to communicating his good state of health, we inform that at this time the patient is in a regeneration or tertiary trauma period. Therefore, tomorrow he will have two surgeries, which are secondary procedures that are not life-threatening,”  Medical director Juan Guillermo Ortiz Martínez explained.

“The first is an osteosynthesis of a fracture to the second metacarpal of the right hand, which will be performed by the hand surgery team. The second is a maxillo-facial to manage dentoalveolar fractures in his mouth.”

Bernal’s crash has made headline news in Colombia and around the world, with local media waiting outside the Bogota hospital for updates. The hospital made it clear it will protect Bernal’s privacy as he recovers.   

“Clinica confirms its commitment to safeguarding patient privacy. Therefore we have not delivered, nor will we deliver, photos or videos of the medical history, or the patient’s condition,” Friday’s medical update said. 

“Any document, information or image communicated by means other than this, does not correspond to this institution.”

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Stephen Farrand

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.