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Update on Injured Australian Cyclists

Yaxley & Rhodes Both Conscious & Improving


Rhodes conscious and responding well

South Australian cyclist Alexis Rhodes, 20, has regained consciousness in the intensive care unit of the University Clinic in Jena, Germany and doctors say she is responding well.

Australian Institute of Sport Director, Professor Peter Fricker, says the doctors reduced the level of sedation and woke her up today.

"She has opened her eyes and is now talking ," said Prof. Fricker. "Doctors had planned to keep the breathing tube in a little longer because she has significant bruising and damage to her left lung but Alexis requested they take it out and after checking her lung function they agreed to her request.

"She'll need to be carefully managed in terms of pain medication because she has broken ribs and fractured bones in her back."

Tasmanian Louise Yaxley, 23, who regained consciousness yesterday, has been talking with doctors and her parents and is progressing well.

"She is still pretty drowsy but she's making sense which is good news," said Prof. Fricker. "She still has a way to go and her injuries will require more surgery which she'll probably have sometime next week."

The surgery will include skin grafts to her arms which were badly grazed in the accident and doctors also want to review the condition of her right elbow that was dislocated in the impact from the crash.

"Doctors are happy that both girls have now taken the next step in their recovery and we've been very encouraged by that," said Prof. Fricker.

Rhodes close friend, Athens Olympian, Kate Bates, who rides with the Van Bemmelen - AA Drink professional team in the Netherlands is staying with a German cycling friend who lives in Jena so she can be close to Alexis and help her with her recovery.

"I've been in talking with her and she's just awesome," said Bates. "Every day it's a little bit more good news and it's positive news for both Alexis and Louise who are recovering a lot quicker than the doctors imagined they would. But they're Aussie girls and we breed them tough.

"Al (Alexis) has a sexy, husky voice right now because of the tube being in but she always wanted a voice like that," joked Bates who says the mood amongst the Australian contingent is very positive. "I'm going to base myself here until Al gets out of hospital because she's going to be become pretty bored pretty quickly now that she's awake and alert."

Meanwhile Sydney's Kate Nicols, 20, had been planning a brief escape from hospital to go to see Australian band 'The Cat Empire' in concert on Sunday night in Jena but the scheduled start time of midnight was deemed to be a little too late and doctors advised against it. Nichols is expected to fly home next weekend.

Queenslander, Lorian Graham, 27, headed to the hospital cafateria for lunch with her parents while doctors plan to have Katie Brown, 21, taking her first steps in the next 24 to 48 hours although after surgery on both legs she will be on crutches for several weeks. Both Brown and Graham are now expected to fly back to Australia in ten days or so





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