Dan Mason joined Team Wideopenmag for 2018 racing enduro in the Junior category and immediately set about sidelining himself with a broken arm on his first ride on his new race bike.
Young people heal fast though and Dan looks set to be back on his Nukeproof Mega pretty soon. Dan has penned an injury blog for us to document the day and injury, as well as his recovery.
Take it away Dan!
So the season started really well for me. Unfortunately, that lasted about 6 hours and I’m now sat here with a broken collar bone, a broken wrist and a brand new bike.
Here’s my first update as a member of Team Wideopenmag!
Back in February myself, Connor Smith and Daniel Cope headed down to the Forest of Dean to collect our shiny new Nukeproof race bikes from Jamie and Dave. The plan was to get a few runs in and then do some filming in the area.
The new bike felt amazing and it was awesome to smash out some runs with the new team mates.
One more run?
After filming was done, we decided to head up for a couple more runs. Always a great idea, right?
On what was practically the last run of the day, I followed Connor down a trail I hadn’t ridden before. All was well until I suddenly saw Connor pull up in front of me for a road gap I failed to notice was even there… Before I knew it I was hitting the lip with my weight over the front of the bike, and by the time I tried to pull up and correct my mistake my shock had other ideas. I was flung straight over the bars and landed on the front wheel with my bike flying past.
I knew as soon as I took off that I’d cocked up and I instantly stuck my arms straight out in front of me, which ended up taking the full brunt of the impact. Up until this point I’d had some fairly savage crashes, but I’d had pretty good luck and come away relatively intact. This time, luck definitely wasn’t on my side.
My outstretched right arm was the first part of my body to hit the hard ground and I kind of knew at this moment I wouldn’t just be able to ‘walk it off’. Luckily Dan and Connor’s Dads, the two Simons, were both around and very quickly came over to help. I’m grateful that those guys were around as well as the other people who rushed over, and luckily we weren’t anywhere too remote.
After being sat down by the side of the trail, I grasped my right shoulder, which is when I noticed the piece of my collarbone that had clearly snapped and was visibly pinching the skin under the surface. That’s when I realised that I’d properly done some damage and I began to feel a resounding frustration that I’d done this right before the race season started. My wrist was also pretty mangled and resembled something more like a balloon than a limb after just a short while.
A few agonising X-rays later, the doctors in A&E confirmed that I’d suffered a comminuted fracture to my right clavicle and an impacted fracture on both my radius and ulna as shown below. Devastated was an understatement as after a successful 4 months of off-season training in the gym, I’d now have to come to terms with missing the start of my season which was just 4 weeks away.
At first I was told that my wrist would require surgery due to the displaced radius that had been impacted into my wrist joint, and that my collarbone would heal on its own, which I found very hard to believe. But once transferred to a hospital closer to home the next morning, I was told that my wrist could be manipulated and set in plaster instead and that my collarbone was showing more concern.
Despite being unable to walk due to me literally being able to feel the fragments of bone grind against each other, I was booked in for an appointment an agonising 10 days later. Once 10 days with no improvement had passed, I was seen by a shoulder surgeon who basically told me that if they didn’t operate and fix the collarbone back together, I’d be left with a shoulder 25mm shorter than my left…
After surgery I was told by him that the piece of bone that was piercing my skin, had infact ‘button-holed’ through the muscle and therefore would have never healed without operative measures.
It was stressed that although having a plate in my collarbone would aid the healing process, it would in fact take around 3 months for the bone to fully heal, and although I was happy that the op had gone well, I was pretty bummed at this news.
After the first few days I was super relieved that the pain had become more manageable now my bones were in a better position. Just 1 week after the operation, I got the legs spinning again on Zwift for an hour which felt amazing. After this I became super motivated to have a successful recovery and the guys at Wideopenmag, as well as my friends, made it easier to get into this mindset so thanks.
For the first 4 weeks I had to remain in my sling and wasn’t allowed to move the arm, when supported, past 70 degrees in relation to my body. After having been immobile for so long being given basic mobility exercises gave me goals to work on I could actually start to feel like I was getting somewhere. Keeping the turbo sessions ticking over definitely helped with the mental side of things, although my cast soon began to resemble a chip shop smell which wasn’t nice.
At the 4 week mark post surgery, I could finally say goodbye to my sling and was able to have more mobility restrictions lifted. I instantly felt more normal as the sling tends to lock up your neck so at this point I was stoked to be allowed to move my arm more freely.
However, although they initially thought I could be out of plaster at this point, the fact that they manipulated it during my clavicle surgery meant that it needed another two weeks to give it time to properly heal. At the appointment, I tried for the first time to lift my arm up with no support and could manage to get to about 60 degrees. Man it felt like I had a 20kg weight on the end of it.
At just under 2 weeks on from this appointment I was now able to lift my arm above my head, with about a 90% range of motion. Even doing something as simple as that was so rewarding after having felt pretty beaten up over the last 6 weeks.