Eighteen days after suffering serious injuries during the Bennetts British Superbike qualifying session at Silverstone, Alex Olsen was able to return home and begin his convalescence – and also with a deal for 2021 in his back pocket.
The Global Robots BMW rider crashed on oil after Hector Barbera’s Rich Energy BMW blew up split-seconds before, and in the ensuing six-rider spill Olsen came off significantly worse after being hit by another machine.
Indeed, his injuries were lengthy with the Kent rider suffering a broken back (the T10 and T12 vertebrae), three litres of blood on his lung, a cracked pelvis, three broken ribs and a lacerated kidney and lacerated liver.
All of which meant Olsen spent the first ten days after the accident strapped to a board and unable to move in Coventry’s hospital staring at the ceiling!
As well as the obvious pain and discomfort, COVID-19 restrictions meant Olsen wasn’t allowed any visitors during this period but, thankfully, after ten days he was operated on by two surgeons for a period of three and a half hours where the spine itself was plated.
However, although he’d had feeling throughout, the surgeons warned him there was no guarantee he’d come out of the operation the other side.
“There was certainly some sleepless night when the doctors told me that,” Olsen said, speaking to bikesportnews.com. “From the moment I landed in the gravel trap, I had feeling in my arms and legs but the doctors couldn’t believe I wasn’t paralysed and they were checking on me all the time when I was flat on my back to check that was still the case. They still thought I could lose all feeling.”
“They could have left me on the board for a longer period but the operation would still have to have been done so they did it after ten days with the warning the operation might not be successful. It was a gamble for sure but what can you do? I’d been on my own, unable to move and with no one allowed to visit so it was a tough time.”
The surgery went according to plan though and just a day later, the surgeons had Olsen back on his feet, albeit with the aid of crutches, keen to get him moving as quick as possible and just over a week later, he was allowed home.
“I needed to get home so I’m eternally grateful for the surgeons! Coventry’s three hours from home so being on my own made the days extremely long. I wasn’t eating much and lost 6kg in weight so it’s good to be back in my own surroundings and eating some decent food again.
“The surgeons have informed me no more surgery is required and that the spine is stronger than it’s ever been so that’s great to hear. Obviously, everything’s still tender and uncomfortable at the moment and I’m still having to lie down a fair bit but once the ribs and pelvis knit together, that should help tremendously.”
Olsen has to return to Coventry in November to have some more X-rays and check-ups but once done, he’ll be able to commence light exercise and increase the levels of physio whilst he’s also secured a deal already for 2021.
“It’s obviously going to take time for things to get back to normal so the sooner I can get stuck into the physio the better. That should start in a few weeks’ time and now I’m home, things will be more comfortable for me.
“It’s also great to have a deal in place for next year so soon. It’s a weight off my mind and has given me tremendous motivation. It also means I can put all my energy and focus into getting 100 per cent fit and I’m already looking forward to 2021 and getting back on the bike.”