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Fabio Jakobsen: The doctors at the finish line saved my life

Fabio Jakobsen of Deceuninck-QuickStep pictured in action during a training session in the Flemish Ardennes Wednesday 17 June 2020 in Zottegem With the phase three of the deconfinement pro cycling teams are back to training BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images
Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen of Deceuninck-QuickStep pictured during a training session earlier in 2020 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Fabio Jakobsen has spoken for the first time since his high-speed crash at the Tour de Pologne, revealing he was grateful to be alive but confirming he faces several months of enforced rest due to suffering severe concussion and multiple surgeries to treat his facial injuries.

Jakobsen crashed through the roadside barriers on the Tour de Pologne's opening stage finish after Jumbo-Visma sprinter and fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen deviated from his line in the downhill sprint. He was placed into an induced coma in hospital as medical staff fought to save his life.

"It is now two weeks after my crash in Poland. The trauma doctors and nurses at the finish line in Katowice saved my life, for which I am extremely grateful to them," Jakobsen said in a personal message released by his Deceuninck-QuickStep team.

"I spent a week in the intensive care unit at St. Barbara hospital in Sosnowiec. They immediately operated on me for five hours and gave me the chance to live. I am very grateful to all employees of this hospital.

"It was a difficult, dark period for me in the ICU, where I was afraid of not surviving. Thanks in part to the organization behind the Tour de Pologne and my team Deceuninck–QuickStep; my family was able to be close to me, which gave me a lot of strength," added the 23-year-old Dutch rider.

Jakobsen was transferred from Poland to the Netherlands last week, with photographs showing him walking from an ambulance to a private plane. He spent some time in the Leiden University Medical Center in central Netherlands but is now at home.

"Step by step I can start to live more independently. Currently I am at home, where the wounds in my face and my injuries can continue to recover," he said, fully aware he faces a lengthy recovery.

"I have to rest a lot in the coming months because of a severe concussion. In the coming weeks and months, I will undergo multiple surgeries and treatments to fix facial injuries."

He thanks everyone who had sent him messages of support and the medical staff in Poland, in the Deceuninck-QuickStep team and the organisers of the Tour de Pologne, who helped his family.

"I want to let everyone know that I am very grateful that I am still alive. All the messages and words of support have given me tremendous strength. Step by step I can slowly look to the future, and I will fight to recover," Jakobsen said.

"In particular I would like to thank Dr. Rafael, who was my surgeon in Poland, Dr. van Mol, who was present as a team doctor in Poland, Patrick Lefevere who brought my family close to me and Agata Lang and family who, on behalf of the Tour of Poland, did very well in taking care of my family."