Amber Halliday is still recovering from a race crash which left her in critical condition. The Australian has recently made a major step forward in her recovery and expects to be released from hospital in a few more weeks.
The 31-year-old crashed on January 18 in the Rendition Homes-Santos Women's Cup race in Adelaide. She touched wheels with another rider and lost consciousness when she hit her head. She suffered from bleeding and bruising of the brain as well as facial fractures.
Even though she regained consciousness from her coma, she was not really aware of everything that has gone on in the last five weeks. But last week she turned the corner and is now aware again.
"I feel like it's taken me this long to wake up," she told Adelaidenow.au. "I've been fully conscious for a while, but I feel like I've only woken up in the last few days.
"It changes every day, how clear everything is. I don't get that drunk feeling like I used to. I just used to feel like I was drunk all the time or tipsy. I slurred my speech, stumbled and couldn't remember things, which still happens a little.
"I thought I was dreaming up until about a week ago, and it was only because I noticed that I was waking up in the same spot, that I thought `maybe this is real'."
Halliday has only the vaguest memories of the day of the crash, and none of the crash itself.
She is now in the midst of extensive therapy, and is convinced she will again be healthy. "I still lack confidence, but I have more faith that in the end I'll get there," she said. "I'll be what I used to be. Maybe not elite athlete Amber but I'll get back to full health which is the most important thing."
Although her brain functions are improving, she still has physical problems. Her whole left side is weak, and she needs further surgery on her left side. The biggest problem is her left eye. She has been unable to open it since the accident due to nerve damage and it may be another year before she is able to do so.