Getting Back On The Bike | How To Recover From Injury With Neil Donoghue

Getting Back On The Bike | How To Recover From Injury With Neil Donoghue

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– You might have seen the
recent Andes Pacifico video and seen me fall off my bike and get injured. Ended up in hospital for
second time in as many years. I thought this video I’ll talk you through
the crash a bit more, the injuries I got, and how I’ve rehabbed for the second time in two years. And basically, my tips for
getting back on the bike after a big injury. Like any big crash I’ve ever had, I always try think about how it happened, why I fell off. So that was actually day
three of the Andes Pacifico. We’d had a really big hike in the morning, sort of three hours. And it was getting late in the day when I fell off my bike. I think I had a bit of heatstroke, it was super hot. I’d probably drunk about
two liters of water, and basically, I told myself to chill out, but I didn’t do it enough. I had a pretty big crash, I know the video doesn’t
really quite do it justice, but I landed on my leg hard on the rocks. And I knew my race was probably done. My stem was all twisted, I was feeling pretty battered, I lost loads of time. But at that moment in time, it didn’t really feel like I was injured. So I rolled down to the
finish line of that stage and I knew my race was done by then. My elbow was pretty shredded, so I got some medical attention for that and got that scrubbed out which was fun, as you’d expect. But my thigh was really
starting to balloon really big. Had a little puncture wound in there, but it really wasn’t bleeding very much. So they strapped it up, well, cleaned it up and strapped it, and it was only about two hours later, when we got back to camp I took that puncture wound dressing off and it started really
bleeding, really badly. So, luckily I got a bit of help
from Loose Dog in his tent. He run over, helped me out. And I just put a sock against that to stop it from really
bleeding out of my leg and just tied a GMBN jersey around it and hobbled over to see the first aid. It looked to me just like
a really big hematoma. So a big bruise that just really balloons up. So at the first aid tent what they did was try to massage some of the blood out
of that puncture wound just so it didn’t bleed inside and get, you know, a massive hematoma. So they were really sort
of massaging that out. They strapped me up, gave me a bit of pain medication, off I went for some dinner. After dinner had a couple
of glasses of wine, I tried to walk back to my tent to get a bit of sleep. I got half way there, I realize I was in a bit of trouble. Actually phoned Blake up, so I could stick my arm
around his shoulder. In the end, Blake actually picked me up, took me back to the tent like a baby, put me in the bed and I thought I’d try
and sleep this one off. About an hour later I was in so much pain I had to go back to the medical tent, so I hobbled my way back over there. This is when things
became a bit more serious. Luckily, at the Andes Pacifico, they’ve got lots of great medical help, so Nico Thumm, the doctor there, who was a bike rider and a doctor, took a look at it. And I was in some pretty
serious pain by then and he knew straight away that it was compartment syndrome. And when he said that, I knew what it was as well. I’ve got a friend who
almost lost his leg to it. Basically, it’s sort of internal bleeding and it was inside the muscle. And, because muscles can’t expand, it can lead to real problems. It’s more complicated if you
have it in your lower leg, my one was up in my thigh. Basically it means, they’ve got to, you know, you’ve got to get surgery on it to cut it open, because that blood isn’t gonna go anywhere and it can cause some real
problems with your leg. So, got in the back of an ambulance, and I was taken, as fast as possible, down to Santiago, which took about an hour and a half. The ambulance driver
was completely bombing. He actually hit a speed bump as we got to the hospital, did a massive jump with
five of us in his ambulance, stuff went everywhere, my drip landed on the floor. It was carnage. I ended up getting emergency surgery at 5:00 A.M. that morning from a really good surgeon, Joaquim. He’s actually a bit GCN fan. So I had lots of help at the Clinica Universidad de los Andes. So really stoked on their help. Basically they cut me open from almost knee to my hip, just so they could drain that blood. And then for the next three days I had almost like cling
film wrap around my leg with a vacuum on it to
keep draining the blood. They got almost a liter
of fluid out of that leg over those three days. Then it was a case of
trying to sew it back up. So I was sat in bed for seven days now, without getting out at all. The second surgery, basically just sewed it up a little bit. And then after five days I got everything sewn back up and I had 54 staples in my leg. So I’ve got a pretty good scar from that, but that’s the worst of it over. Really, as soon as they
cut the muscle open, that’s pretty much the problem dealt with. They can get rid of that pressure and then it’s all about recovering. So now back in this sunny UK. Sort of seven weeks I think
now since the accident. The Chile trip was amazing still. It was a two and a half week trip that turned into almost a month with that time in hospital. And the advice I had from
Joaquim, the surgeon, was basically take it
super easy for three weeks, ’cause that muscles been really torn, sewn back together. If you push it too soon, you can actually get a
hernia on that muscle. So this is definitely one of those times, listen to the experts and I’ve taken it super easy for actually a month. First thing I did was get
back on my ebike actually with my son on the front. Super leisurely ride and it was great to have that
extra boost of the ebike, so it didn’t stress that muscle too much. But now, it’s time to get
back on a cross-country bike, build some of that fitness again. (upbeat music) When it comes to rehabbing, getting back on a bike, of course I always say follow the advice of the medical experts. In the past, when I was a pro, I did go and use some specialist
sports physios actually, and people that help a
lot of the pro downhillers and Rebel Athletes in the UK. Things like shoulder injuries in the past, I’ve dislocated my AC joint. And the great thing about
going to see those specialists is they can tell you what
you can and can’t do. So there definitely are
some exercises you can’t do with shoulder injuries. But they can get you
moving on things you can do and that can make a big difference. In this case I’ve just used
the National Health Service in the UK. It’s pretty good. I knew what the injury was. It was just a case of
rehabbing that muscle and taking my time. So definitely try and get
advice from the right people with different injuries and see how fast you can get moving. (upbeat music) That’s the slippiest thing
I’ve ever tried to ride across. (laughing) Oh for sake. Yeah, that was the inside line. Now we’re standing on the piss. The worst part about injuries is just all that time off the bike. It feels like I lose my
fitness really quick as well. I’ve also got a torn ACL on that side, so a torn ligament in that knee from racing downhill 15 years ago. I found in that crash that swelled up pretty bad as well. So now I’m back on the bike, just gently spinning. I find that actually really helps. It sort of gets the
blood flowing to there. And my knee’s gone down loads. So still gotta take it super gentle. I feel like this muscle aches pretty bad. You know, achy legs the
morning after a big ride. It feels like that every day anyway. So I’ve gotta go pretty
gentle on that muscle, but it’s nice to be back on the bike. Back in the wet woods in the UK, but it’s super fun to be back
on a bike and riding again. I’ve definitely had a lot
of injuries in the 20 years of racing downhill, riding enduro, just riding mountain bikes. And more than my fair share
in the last couple of years. If you’re a follower of
GMBN you probably saw, it was almost two years ago now, I had a big crash and broke my ankle, head
injury, all sorts of things. So yeah, bit of experience coming back from those injuries recently. One thing not to forget is that when you do get back on the bike, you’re gonna be a bit rusty, so take your time, try not to lose your confidence. So, you know, a big thing for me now is I don’t wanna fall off on that leg. Still pretty tender, even though its getting fixed. I really wouldn’t wanna
fall off on that leg. So I’m just gonna take my time, realize I’ve not ridden
a bike really in a month, so it’s time to go super steady. And it’ll come back. The big thing is, to begin with, you get on the bike and it feels like, “Oh, if I case that jump
on, that’s gonna hurt.” Or whatever. So take it gentle and hopefully you’ll build
your way back into it and you’ll case a jump and realize that actually it
probably isn’t gonna hurt it. So take your time, get back onto the bike, gentle as you can, and build up your confidence again. I’ve gotta say a big thanks to everyone that helped me in Chile. Blake, of course, for being a good mate and carrying me to bed. The boys at GMBN
behind-the-scenes as well. Nico, all the doctors at Andes Pacifico, Eduardo, Andes Pacifico, a massive help, so cheers to those guys. And it’s great to be back on a bike, even though it is raining, we’ll do some miles. If you wanna see that original video, from the Andes Pacifico, click down there for that one and explain what happened, if you’ve not seen that already. And if you wanna see
how to ride long miles, like I’m gonna do now, up there for some tips on that one. Thumbs up if you like
recovering from injuries. See you later.

37 thoughts on “Getting Back On The Bike | How To Recover From Injury With Neil Donoghue”

  1. With Neil's regularity when it comes to serious injuries, "Getting back on the bike" will be the only type of video on GMBN, that will not be recycled every year. 🙂
    I hope it will be recycled tho.

  2. Frag, that was quite a scare. Quick and uneventful recovery for Neil.

    As many others I have my crash stories: I had a pretty silly crash pre-riding a mixed road event around this time two years ago. Minor crash on a soft sand drift, get up, straighten the bars. Catch up to the mates, laugh about the bleeding wound on my shin.

    Next day fever, go to hospital, get IV antibiotics. Then again two days after the infection bounced. Then again two days after, with full leg swollen from a very aggressive strep infection. Ended up spending 5 days in the hospital and 6 weeks with a portable antibiotic IV pump. Let me tell you, I'm never going to use a fanny pack again.

    More a scare than anything else considering how bad it looked and how concerned the doctors were about MRSA and more drastic treatment options (apparently this strain had caused a couple of deaths in young, healthy people around that time) weren't necessary.

    And yeah, that first ride back is glorious.

  3. I have two herniated discs and I have continued to ride the bike. I had several appointments with a chiropractor and a lot of stretching.

  4. Hi I just wanted to ask a question to everybody: I want to buy a dh bike but I don't know what to pick.
    My firts two choises are Yt tues cf pro or teh specialized demo 8 alloy.
    Thanks, if you have any other bikes to suggest me write them down.

  5. Watching this with a broken ankle and foot. I was considering selling the bike but this video has given me some confidence that I will get back on the bike in a few months. Thanks GMBN!

  6. Well done Neil. Superb and honest portrayal. Love how you guys show your human side alongside your epic shredding abilities. Broke my foot last year running and had 6 weeks until a MTB event (very amateur at Cannock) but managed it (absolutely knackered!). Watching your vids whilst trying to get moving really helped me.

  7. 2yrs and counting with a quad tendon issue, slowly getting back into it but no where near what I used to do, and to complicate things I now have the same issue in my hamstrings… A few months off the bike would have been fantastic!

  8. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm very early into the healing process. Just yesterday I crashed really bad coming out of the woods and my front wheel lost traction on the gravel path. Broke the right elbow and the left thumb and will definitely be off the bike for a while. :/
    Helps to see you back on the bike though (even though this story is by now over a month in the past).

  9. If I’ve got to be honest, I’d prefer to dislocate a shoulder instead of have that thing in your thigh. I’m so happy you are ok, it sounded incredibly uncomfortable. Awesome you’re alright!

  10. I just had an injury but don't have enough money to take it to the hospital, so i just had to live with a large open cut on my arm and thigh until it gets better and gets the skin back to each other cause it's all open

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