Champion hand-cyclist Rachel Morris’ hopes of competing in the London Paralympics have been jeopardised after she was hit by a car, whilst taking part in a Time Trial.
British Cycling announced earlier today that six minutes into the event, which was being held near Guildford, Morris (pictured above) was hit from behind, after a car ran into the offside of her hand-cycle. Although Morris managed to get close to the curb quickly, the impact destroyed one of the wheels of her bike.
She said, “The bike went up into the air. I remember looking across and I was aware that I was at the same height as the passengers in a car passing in the outside lane.”
Regarding the chance of her competing in the Paralympics, she commented: “This has totally screwed me up, I feel like everything I’ve worked for has been taken away. I can’t imagine not being there, but I know how long it has taken me to recover from this type of injury before, and it was longer than I now have before the Games.”
The athlete is consequently suffering from whiplash and shoulder injuries. Morris’ condition known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy causes extreme pain and related sensory abnormalities so that when she becomes injured, her body reacts in a damaging way, meaning her recovery is uncertain. She has already visited the GB Cycling Team’s doctor Richard Freeman in order to have the damage to her shoulder assessed.
Morris made her debut at the Paralympic Games in Bejing in 2008 where she won gold in the Time Trial. She also won gold at the Time Trial and Road Race double at the 2010 World Championships, as well as claiming a bronze medal at the road race last year.
British Cycling plans to follow Morris’ case closely, as it is concerned that such incidents often fail to be properly investigated. A number of other cycling organisations have also recently urged the Ministry of Justice to review how the Criminal Justice System deals with these kind of incidents.
Sophia Smith, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine
Image credit: British Cycling