Chris Horner is among my favorite riders to watch. He’s just a blue collar stiff who puts his nose to the grind stone and gets things done. He’s not polished, he’s not pretty or even particularly well-spoken. He likes to eat at McDonalds and tell things like they are. He’s the Kelly Pavlik of the cycling world. And like Kelly, damn he’s good, and damn he’s fun to watch.
So today, watching the video of Horner at the finish, quite obviously concussed, was tough. Actually it was frightening. Apparently he was a little groggy after the crash, came out of it, and then the symptoms just showed back up while he was on the bike. From what I’ve read at the Science of Sport blog (http://www.sportsscientists.com/2011/07/tour-takes-on-new-complexion.html) that is how head injuries often present – after the fact.
We’ve all seen boxers and football players who aren’t quite right anymore. Not old guys, mind you, but 40-year olds who took one too many hits to the head. What you may not have heard about are athletes who hit their head, think they’re fine, and then drop dead a few hours later. Do a search for Natasha Richardson.
Yes today’s post is serious, but so are head injuries. Always wear a helmet, replace it after any impact, or after 5 years. If you do hit your head, get checked out. And above all, don’t continue. It’s just not worth it, and the consequences really can be permanent.
Steen A. Rose is an elite cycling and triathlon coach. He started coaching in 2003, and has been an Elite Coach with Training Bible Coaching since 2009. Steen is also captain of the Sun & Ski/Subaru Cycling and Triathlon teams. He has been racing since 1997, holds a Category 1 license, and has 13 state championships, 3 national medals, and 4 international podiums to his credit. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org