Australia's Sam Willoughby in action during the seedings run for the Men's BMX at the Olympic BMX Centre during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. Willoughby ranked 3rd fastest after the seedings run. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Australia's Sam Willoughby in action during the seedings run for the Men's BMX at the Olympic BMX Centre during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. Willoughby ranked 3rd fastest after the seedings run. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY DEAN LEWINS

BMX star has no feeling below chest

BMX: Australian BMX star Sam Willoughby has no feeling below his chest after a training crash that damaged his spine on September 10.

The world champion and Olympic silver medallist crashed at his local track in Chula Vista, near San Diego, suffering fractures to his C6 and C7 vertebrae, severely compressing his spinal cord and leaving him with no movement below the chest.

Willoughby had surgery, with the C6 vertebra removed and replaced by a titanium cage. His C5 and C7 vertebrae were fused.

His family has released more details of his condition.

"At this stage, Sam still has no movement from his chest down but has regained use of his arms and is slowly regaining some sensation in his legs,” Willoughby's family said.

"Sam's next step is to begin a long road of recovery at a rehabilitation centre and, while the details are still to be finalised, at this stage, it is expected that Sam will be transported to a US-based rehabilitation centre in the next few days.

"Fortunately, this surgery was successful enough at decompressing his spinal cord and aligning his vertebrae that a second operation for further stabilisation was not necessary.”

Willoughby won silver in BMX at the 2012 Olympics and made the final in Rio, but finished sixth.



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