Update on Injured Australian
Kate Nichols arrives home
update from Cycling Australia and the Australian Sports Commission
Released - 31 July
Kate Nichols, 20, has arrived back in Australia after being discharged
from the University Clinic in Jena, Germany. Nichols required surgery to
repair tendon damage to her right hand and fingers and sustained numerous
cuts and abrasions 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 last Monday week.
Champion cyclist and Olympic rower, Amy Gillett (nee Safe), 29, was killed
instantly and the other five riders admitted to hospital with varying
injuries. The team was training for the Thüringen Tour due to start the
Nichols flew home accompanied by her parents, Los Angeles Olympic gold
medallist, Kevin Nichols and wife Sylvia. AIS Psychologist Rosie
Stanimirovic was also on the flight. Nichols is the first of the five
cyclists injured in the accident to leave the hospital and was in good
spirits and happy to be home.
Kate Nichols in TT action
during the Giro Donne 2005
Click on the images
above to enlarge
Counselling and rehabilitation services have been arranged for all the
injured cyclists back in Australia to help them recover both physically
and mentally from the trauma of the accident.
Meantime doctors in the University Clinic in Jena, Germany believe South
Australian cyclist Alexis Rhodes, 20, and her team mate Tasmanian Louise
Yaxley, 23, will be out of intensive care within a week. Australian
Institute of Sport Director, Professor Peter Fricker, spoke with both
riders on the telephone over the weekend and says they are progressing
"Both are quite chirpy and in good spirits," said Prof. Fricker.
"They are both looking forward to getting out of intensive care and
everything going well they should be moved into a room together within a
"Alexis has been up and walking around and exercising but she will
need to take it slowly because of the injury to her lung," said Prof.
Fricker. "But most of the tubes are now out."
Yaxley has been suffering some pain in the wake of the successful surgery
she underwent last Tuesday which involved skin grafts on both arms, the
replacement of a fixator device for her right elbow and work on her
injured left wrist.
"The doctors are managing her pain but they are really pleased with
the way she's going and she is keen to get out of ICU and into the rehabilitation
phase of her recovery," he said. "Neither of them is suffering
any complications so far."
Queenslander, Lorian Graham, 27, has been out and about shopping with her
parents in the local village and is continuing with physiotherapy and rehabilitation
"She will have stitches taken out this week and doctors will conduct
final checks before she is scheduled for a return to Australia," said
Sydney's Katie Brown, 21, has started getting around on crutches in
preparation for her return home.
"She is obviously having a little more difficulty as far as mobility
is concerned because both legs were injured and she has a broken arm but
she is continuing weight bearing exercise for her left leg and each day is
getting more practice on the crutches," said Prof. Fricker.
Amy Gillett's funeral and memorial service was held last Friday in
Ballarat. The injured cyclists, along with some of the European based
professional women riders, held a private memorial service in the chapel
of the hospital on Friday to farewell their team mate. Also on Friday in
Vienna, the Australian Team for the Junior World Championships held a
memorial service for Amy. The service was led by team psychologist,
Georgia Ridlet, and included pink candles, friendship poems, and stories
about Amy from senior members of the team. In memory of Amy each member of
the team pinned a pink ribbon (Amy's favourite colour) to the collar of
their Australian Team uniform.
A public memorial service is planned for this Friday at 11.00am at
Amy's family and Cycling Australia have established the Amy Gillett-Safe
Cycling Foundation to honour her memory. The Foundation will assist with
the recovery of her injured team mates, fund a sporting and academic
scholarship program for promising female cyclists and promote road safety
awareness amongst cyclists and motorists.
The organisers of the Thüringen Rundfahrt event transferred $24,000 (AUD)
into the Foundation account over the weekend, the prizemoney from the
event which sponsors, riders and team management chose to donate to honour
Amy's memory. The event organisers also opened an account in Germany to
accept donations from the German public and will then transfer these funds
to the Foundation.
People wishing to donate to the Foundation should visit the Cycling
Australia website at www.cycling.org.au
and follow the links from the home page.
Cycling Australia has also 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. Messages can also be sent via the
Australian Sports Commission website www.ausport.gov.au
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