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Minnaar in hospital after motocross wreck

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in the air.

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in the air.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)

South Africa's Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) is recovering in the hospital after a crash at the weekend saw him break his collarbone and have surgery on his left leg for the treatment of blood clots that had formed after the accident. The medical term for this injury to his leg is "compartment syndrome".

The multiple-time World Cup Champion was competing in a regional Hare Scramble motocross enduro event, about 45 minutes from his hometown of Pietermaritzburg, as part of his preparation for the Roof Of Africa Enduro scheduled for later this month.

Minnaar started the event in 70th place and had moved up to fourth by the end of the third lap. On time, and given his handicap of passing people from 70th, he was actually second fastest and was set to start the last of four laps in the three-hour event, when he rounded a righthand corner and hit a concealed rock that threw him over the bars and immediately onto his right shoulder, breaking his collarbone.

Greg spoke Tuesday from hospital, "I knew it was broken straight away, as soon as I landed. I was about 20km from the main start finish area when it happened, and I struggled to ride further round the lap until I came to a marshal point. I left the bike there and got a lift to the hospital."

"I didn't feel too bad and actually walked into the hospital. That's when the doctors noticed my left thigh had swollen up to be 10cm thicker than my right thigh. They rushed me into surgery and pulled out three massive blood clots. One was the size of the doctor's fist!"

The doctors decided to leave the incision open overnight and drain further fluid. More than 500ml was drained, and the doctors opted to operate again on Monday night to stitch up the muscle and its casing. Presently Minnaar has a small drainage tube in his left leg, and the doctors are keeping him under observation. The collarbone break is on the right side; fortunately his left shoulder, which had reconstructive surgery at the end of 2007, was not affected by the crash.

"It's so weird, I was able to walk into the hospital, and I have no recollection of hitting my leg in the fall. Strangely, it's exactly the same place where I had deep bruising following my crash at Mont-Sainte-Anne this year, so there may be some connection. The cut in my leg at the moment is about 25cm and I am completely unable to move or walk right now."

The doctors are happy with Minnaar's muscles in his thigh, and they're keeping him in observation for at least another 24 hours. There are no immediate plans for him to leave the hospital. Needless to say, any plans to repeat his efforts at the Roof Of Africa Enduro have been set aside. Once he is released from hospital he expects to be on crutches for some time before getting back onto a bike.

Minnaar finished second to Sam Hill in the 2009 World Cup downhill standings.

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