Well Saul..tell us about these years since the accident…
Just over five years ago I lay comatose in a French hospital. I almost lost my life. My massive brain injuries were the result of a high-speed bicycle crash.
My parents stood at my bedside, trying to comprehend the prognosis. They were told by doctors that I could be
possibly braindead; if I was to live they needed to find a nursing home to put me in because I would need special health care assistance the rest of my life. At the time I was named the youngest team leader ever in the Sport of Cycling. At the age of 23 my future in cycling could not have been brighter. In the blink of an eye my world changed. In that same instant, I couldn’t possibly comprehend it at the time, my life gained real purpose. Doctors have called my recovery miraculous. Within the last three years I’ve raced in the US Pro Cycling Championship, run the New York City Marathon, married, divorced (because of my brain injury I was used), and competed in several Triathlons. I told my friends and family when I was in the hospital if I ever lived a normal life again that I wanted to give back and help people like me. Now I have started the Raisin Hope foundation. I’ve also written a book to let others know that they are not alone in the traumatic journey of brain injury. If I am not giving motivational speeches to thousands, or going to school, I plan on spending time with our wounded Veterans. Almost 100,000 Americans suffer devastating brain trauma every year. As the result of the war in Iraq alone, over 100,000 Veterans have endured brain injuries. The media captures the amputees and occasionally spinal cord injuries, though you rarely hear or see anything on brain injuries. I would like to change that. In short, my experiences have gone beyond the impossible. One of my goals is to be the first person to come back from a brain injury as severe as mine and complete the Ironman in Hawaii. I also plan on going to college and majoring in Physical Therapy or Psychology so then not only can I walk the walk I can talk the talk. I have been more fortunate than 99.99% of people with similar injuries as mine. Doctors tell me that only about 1% of people that have a similar brain injury ever get back to my level of functioning. It is horrific to know that a shocking injury, such as this, has little to no resources available to the patients and their families. I always love the opportunity to share my story to raise awareness for brain injuries and give back hope and the smiles to people that need it the most. Two million Americans have a brain injury in America each year. It costs our country over 48 billion yearly. It is horrific to know that considering how life changing a brain injury is for you and your family that there are hardly any resources out there for people. www.raisinhope.org
Did UCI make something for you? The UCI did nothing for me after my accident .I was so sick after my accident I did not know what to expect. Looking back, I wish that there was more protection for cyclists injured while racing.
You recovered well…but can`t race proffesionally again how was that moment?
It was very hard for me and it is still hard. It has been almost seven years
and I sill look for work and am trying to put my life together.
What did you do since that day?
I started the Raisin Hope foundation that helps others with brain injuries. We are very small but have big hearts and bigger dreams. We now have a Raisin Hope foundation and bicycle team in the Netherlands!!! I was in the Netherlands to ride bikes with the team this summer. Check it out!!! http://www.raisinhope.nl/
Tell us about Raisin Hope Ride…
It is a “fun” bike ride in America and Netherlands to raise money and awareness for brain injuries. Check it out the pictures here: http://raisinhope.ning.com/photo/albums/raisin-hope-ride-netherlands-2012
Do you follow the races and your former team mates?
Yes, I follow and am friends with a few former teammates. Thor Hushovd is a good friend and he recently gave me a signed Green and Yellow Jersey from the Tour de France. He is a true champion.
Your opinion about Lance Armstrong affaire…
It is bad for the sport.
What do you think about UCY system of points?
It could be better, it is hard to plan a system good for all people.
You also wrote a book…
I wrote the book Tour de Life to share my story with others and with a portion of sales to make money to help others with brain injuries. Anyone can buy a personalized copy from me here(I will sign it): www.tourdelife.org
Do you have a normal life?can you make some sports?
I live as normal of a life as I can. I ride road and mountain bikes with friends and now enjoy running. I have completed 2 marathons and 5 half ironman triathlons.
Who`s the best cyclist you`ve ever seen?and the best now?
Thor Hushovd , because he`s a clean rider, good father, and great guy. A true champion.
Do you know anything about Argentina?
My cousin’s wife is from Argentina. I know that the people are very kind, and the country is very beautiful. I have been told the riding is very good there.