Top cyclists receive first-class care at Mediclinic Nelspruit

Posted on 5 March 2018

Abrasions, fractures, even broken vertebrae – when these top cyclists took a tumble while training in Mpumalanga, their injuries were severe enough to put their careers at risk. Fortunately, after quick and effective care at Mediclinic Nelspruit, they’re on the road to recovery. 

Professional cyclists know how to work hard. With a racing programme stretching from February until October, the demands on a rider’s body are extreme to say the least. And then there is the ever-present spectre of accidents, not only in racing, but also in daily training.

Having arrived in South Africa on 20 January, Quick-Step Floors cyclists Bob Jungels, Petr Vakoc and Laurens De Plus took a few days to get acclimatised to the local conditions. They were there to take advantage of the severe heat and altitude of the Mpumalanga region. But things took a turn for the worse on the fifth day of their visit.

‘We were out training when I suddenly heard a loud noise,’ said Jungels. ‘I looked around and saw Petr and Laurens lying on the ground. I ran to them and could see they were injured, so I did not move them. It was really tough to see them like that.’

Swift action from the local emergency services saw them dispatched to Mediclinic Nelspruit, over 100km away. ‘The medical support was really good,’ said coach Koen Pelgrim. ‘Our boys really received the attention they needed. But it was an anxious time for us all.’

After extensive examinations, De Plus was diagnosed with multiple abrasions, a minor pulmonary and kidney contusion, as well as pelvic and sacral fractures. Vakoc’s injuries were more serious, however, with surgery required to stabilise broken vertebrae. Fortunately, the post-surgery tests showed Petr responding to all stimuli, and the surgery was deemed a success.

While Laurens is due to begin light training in a few weeks, Petr was scheduled to leave hospital and return to Europe. Further examinations by his team doctors will determine when he can resume his cycling career.

But the Czech rider is in good spirits. ‘I am so thankful for the professionalism and kindness of the staff at Mediclinic Nelspruit. They even made a special brace so I could move around. And while I am looking forward to returning home, I hope to come back to South Africa soon.’

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