At the 2014 Grand Prix of Italy in Maggiora on Saturday, Honda MXGP pilot Joel Roelants had a serious crash.
During the second lap of the timed qualifying, he did not land far enough on one of the big jumps and consequently suffered from a severe blow to the back. Joel remained limp on the track and was immediately transported to the hospital in Turin, where doctors established that two of his backbones (T8 and T9) were broken as a result of the crash. They operated without delay.
During this five-hour surgery, eight bolts were inserted to stabilise Joel’s back.
However, Joel’s legs were numb after the crash, and remained numb after the surgery. The doctors say that the next three weeks are crucial for his further recovery. Whether or not the numbness will disappear, is difficult to assess at this stage.
Joel remains the fighter he has always been. “I know what is going on,” said Joel. “My decision has already been made: I will keep fighting,” he uttered after waking up for the first time. On Thursday, Joel will be transported to a hospital in his homeland of Belgium for further examination. Also Joel’s regular doctor Toon Claes is attending him.
In the meantime, fans have gathered on various social media websites to support their favourite pilot. On Twitter, the hashtag #supportJR can be used to show your support. On Facebook, over 4,500 fans have already joined the group “Like als steun voor Joel Roelants”.
The family and the team would already like to express their gratitude towards the medical staff, fans and mx colleagues for all the support.