Injured triathlete flies to SA for treatment

ct Richard Holland 1 done (31456219) ROAD TO RECOVERY: Richard Holland was struck down by a car while cycling from his home in Motor City, Dubai in October and is in a semi-coma. He gives his girlfriend Krysia Maciejewski, who spent a lot of time with him while he was recovering at the City Hospital in Dubai, a hug during a visit.

Xolani Koyana

RICHARD Holland was a thriving triathlete, who represented South Africa internationally before he was hit by a car while training for a competition.

Holland has been in a semi-coma since the incident in Dubai three months ago and returned home with his mother Judy Rothschild on Tuesday week to help with his recovery.

He will undergo rehabilitation at the Vincent Pallotti Hospital after suffering severe brain injuries.

The 30 year old had been preparing for Thailand’s Ironman 70.3 Laguna Phuket race when he was struck down by a car from behind while cycling in Motor City, Dubai on October 11.

He had broken ribs, punctured lungs, a fractured sternum, fractured right fibula, and severe brain injuries.

“Life has been challenging and sad in the last three months. But we are full of hope and faith that Rich will pull through. We are going to give our son every opportunity possible for recovery.

“Based on the type of injuries he had, recovery will be a long journey. We are hopeful of a miracle and we have seen them happen before,” Rothschild said in a telephonic interview from the hospital.

She has not left her son’s bedside since joining him in Dubai from Australia, where she lives with her husband and children.

Rothschild said the family would move to Cape Town to be with Holland for his rehabilitation.

Doctors told Holland’s family he had severe Traumatic Brain Injury, a bruise on the brain stem which caused an immediate coma.

As a result of an injured brain stem, he is unable to move his body. He only communicates by blinking his left eye to respond yes or no. Hospital staff use a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube to feed him. Holland has now been in hospital for three months and his medical bills are piling up.

A trust, Back On Your Bike, was set up in November to raise funds to pay for expenses, rehabilitation and raise awareness for cyclists’ safety.

The trust aims to raise R15 million as a target for his medical costs through his recovery. It has already come up with over a R1m.

When he was struck by the car he had his safety gear on. A 48-year-old motorist appeared in court for knocking down Holland, Gulf News reported.

According to the newspaper a traffic report stated that the driver had failed to keep a safe distance between his vehicle and the cyclist.

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