American cyclist emerges from coma in Angers

13th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 13, 2006 (AFP) - American cyclist Saul Raisin appears to be on his way to recovery after emerging from a coma brought on by a life-threatening crash in a race in western France.

PARIS, April 13, 2006 (AFP) -  American cyclist Saul Raisin appears to be on his way to recovery after emerging from a coma brought on by a life-threatening crash in a race in western France.

Raisin, one of the Crédit Agricole team's up and coming riders, came out of the coma on Wednesday and hospital staff at Angers also took him off a ventilator on Thursday, his team manager Roger Legeay said.

He had been put on the ventilator a week ago to take pressure off his body, and improve his chances of recovering from the haemorrhage he suffered.

Legeay said the news was a big relief.

"The doctors have just taken him off the ventilator," he told AFP. "They're planning to remove Saul from intensive care in the next few days."

Raisin was able to move his arms and legs, albeit tentatively, suggesting that the doctors' initial fears of paralysis had passed.

He was also responding to questions by nodding his head.

"It's a huge relief, even though we're at a very early stage. We still don't know what the consequences of such a serious crash will be," added Legeay.

Doctors will now wait to assess Raisin before taking the next step in his rehabilitation.

The 23-year-old American crashed on stage one of the Circuit de la Sarthe race, which is held in western France, and was taken to hospital to be treated for head injuries.

Raisin had been conscious and talking to team officials since the crash but saw his condition worsen rapidly last Thursday before slipping into a coma.

A rising star in cycling renowned for his climbing skills, Raisin turned professional in 2003 and moved up to Crédit Agricole's first team last year.

It is not the first time he has had a serious crash.

In 2003 Raisin had a bad fall during the Trans Alsace race, while last year he was hit by a motorbike during the Four Days of Dunkirk, breaking his collarbone, some ribs and his hip.

Doctors expected him to be out of action for six weeks but he bounced back within that timeframe to not only return to training, but to actually compete in the Tour of Switzerland.

He finished a solid 37th there and then continued his recovery, going on to take ninth place overall in the Deutschland Tour and to scoop the King of the Mountains jersey in the Tour de l'Avenir.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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