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Update on Injured Australian Cyclists

A joint statement from Cycling Australia and the Australian Sports Commission

Released at 20:00hrs, 21 July (Aus Eastern Standard Time), (12:30hrs Europe, 11:30hrs UK)

 

Simon Gillett has arrived in Germany to bring home the body of his wife, cyclist Amy Gillett, who was killed on Tuesday (0140 AEST / Monday local time) in an accident which has left five of her team mates in hospital. She was 29.

Amy died instantly when a teenage female driver lost control of her vehicle, crossed to the other side of the road and ploughed into the six member Australian women's team who were training for the a Tour due to start the next day.

Mr Gillett and Rod Katz, the President of the Bicycle Federation of Australia who is travelling with him, were met at the airport by Cycling Australia National Performance Director, Shayne Bannan, the Australian Ambassador to Germany, Pamela Fayle and members of her staff and Australian Institute of Sport Counsellor, Ruth Anderson.

Lorna and Desley Graham, the mother and sister of the injured Lorian, were on the same flight and were driven by the Ambassador to the Uni Klinik in Jena to see her.

Embassy staff and Ms Anderson have escorted Mr Gillett and Mr Katz to another hospital where Amy's body was taken after the accident. Mr Gillett has also visited the site of the tragedy where a simple wooden cross bearing his wife's name was placed by mourners during the memorial service

After Mr Gillett has seen her Amy's body will be transferred to Frankfurt in preparation for the flight back to Australia. Her casket will be draped with an Australian flag for the trip home on the weekend. Amy Gillett's (nee Safe) family have confirmed a funeral will be held for her in Ballarat next Friday July 29th followed by a memorial service. Further details will be published in next Wednesday's newspapers.

Mr Bannan says Mr Gillett was 'as you would expect after a tragedy like this' when he arrived in Germany.

"He's been through so much but Simon says he wants to visit the injured girls in hospital who were his wife's team mates and friends," said Mr Bannan. "He also wants to see some of other Australian riders who are here for the Thuringen Tour who have trained, travelled and raced with Amy over recent years as part of the Australian team.

Those riders include Sara Carrigan, Oenone Wood, Olivia Gollan, Emma Rickard, Rochelle Gilmore and sisters Kate and Natalie Bates who have been to the hospital several times to visit their injured compatriots.

Natalie Bates says everyone is pulling together and taking strength from each other.

"It's been amazing but that's not surprising because we are such a strong little family here in Europe," said Ms Bates. "We have a bit of a cry but then we have a bit of a laugh and we're supporting each other to get through this."

Ms Bates says she is encouraged by the resilience of her injured friends.

"They are so amazing and are being so strong, so brave and are talking a little bit about what's happened and about what they saw," said Ms Bates of Katie Brown, Kate Nichols and Lorian Graham who are sharing a room in the hospital which has become an Australian outpost. "There are so many people here now with the families and friends it's turned into a bit of a party which is keeping everyone's spirits up.

"We make sure they always have someone around to talk to and Katie Brown was even cracking her own jokes as they wheeled her back into the room yesterday after an arthroscopy," she said. "Her brother Graeme was telling bad jokes but it was a really positive experience to be there and it made us feel good afterwards."

Ms Bates says they have not yet been able to see the two riders who remain in intensive care, Alexis Rhodes, 20, and Louise Yaxley, 23, but they have seen Alexis' parents and that has helped.

"They were so strong and so positive. "We took strength from them and we are all optomistic about their recovery," said the Sydney cyclist and physiotherapist. "The hospital staff are great even when we walk in in massive numbers, seven or eight of us at a time, they just work around us and are really welcoming and supportive.

"It's a really good hospital and the doctors and so competent so we're positive they are in good hands."

Australian Sports Commission Chairman, Peter Bartels, and Australian Institute of Sport Director, Professor Peter Fricker, met with doctors again tonight (AEST) to receive an update on Rhodes and Yaxley and report their condition is unchanged.

"It will probably be Monday before there is any change," said Mr Bartels.

Medical Status Update

Two riders remain in intensive care

Alexis Rhodes, 20, (SA) - Remains in a critical but stable condition in intensive care. She has suffered serious chest trauma and spinal injuries and will require further surgery. She has fractures of parts of her thoracic spine and seven broken bones in her back. There is no evidence at this stage that her spinal cord has been damaged. There are bone fragments near her spinal cord and doctors will operate to remove those in due course. Doctors are keeping Alexis unconscious, on an automatic ventilator and will not wake her until they believe it is medically safe to do so. She also has extensive tissue damage. Parents Jenni and Greg Rhodes are in Jena. She is expected to remain in hospital for 4 - 6 weeks.

Louise Yaxley, 23, (TAS) - Remains in a critical but stable condition in intensive care. Louise underwent further surgery last night (AEST) to stabilise her condition. She has a small blood clot in her brain which is not causing any major problem at this stage and is being monitored by doctors. She has also suffered chest trauma and a puncture wound to her abdomen. She has a broken arm and severe damage to both arms and legs (grazing and abrasions which have stripped the skin from her limbs) that will require plastic surgery. Louise is also heavily sedated and on an automatic ventilator. Doctors will not wake her until it is medically safe to do so. Parents Annette and Brian Yaxley arrived early this morning and have visited the hospital and spoken with her doctors. Partner Mark Padget is also in Jena. She is expected to remain in hospital for 4 - 6 weeks.

Three riders in a satisfactory condition and in the same hospital room

Katie Brown, 21, (NSW) - Remains in a satisfactory condition after surgery on both her left knee and right leg. She also has fractures of three bones in her left wrist and her left ring finger is broken. Doctors expect her to be released from hospital in two or three weeks. Her parents Rodney and Lorraine Brown, brother Graeme Brown and his wife Hayley along with Katie's boyfriend Mark Renshaw are also in Jena.

Lorian Graham, 27, (QLD) - Remains in a satisfactory condition after surgery. She has a fracture of her right collar bone and the patella in her left knee. Doctors have fixed tension wire to her knee to support it. Her left arm has some abrasions but we are not aware of any fractures of her left arm or collar bone. Mother Lorian Graham and sister Desley are in Jena.

Kate Nichols, 20, (NSW) - Remains in a satisfactory condition after surgery to repair tendon damage in her right hand and fingers. Doctors have splinted her hand and fingers to minimise scar tissue and to assist in the return of full mobility in her hand. She has a small piece of glass in her eye which doctors will remove if necessary. Multiple abrasions and doctors removed a lot of glass from her wounds but she is already undergoing physiotherapy and expected to be released from hospital in a week or so. Parents Kevin and Sylvia are in Jena.


Cycling Australia has established an email link for people who wish to send condolence messages to the family of Amy Gillett or to pass on their thoughts and wishes to those injured. Go to
www.cycling.org.au and follow the link on the home page. Message can also be sent via the Australian Sports Commission website www.ausport.gov.au

    

 

 

 

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