Gold-winning Paralympian Simon Richardson left housebound by horrific road …

  • Simon Richardson, 48, won two golds in cycling at the 2008 Paralympics 
  • But in 2011 he broke his back in four places after a horror crash with a car
  • Once fit athlete says he’s housebound and can’t afford electric wheelchair

Jennifer Newton for MailOnline

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A double gold-winning Paralympian has been left housebound after a horror road crash because he can’t afford an electric wheelchair.

Seven years ago Simon Richardson, from Porthcawl, won two gold, one silver and set a world record in cycling at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008.

But now the once super-fit athlete, who was awarded an MBE for his achievements, is struggling to regain his independence after a crash in 2011, which left him unable to leave home without any help.

Gold medal winning Paralympian Simon Richardson, who has been left household following an accident as he can't afford an electric wheelchair 

Gold medal winning Paralympian Simon Richardson, who has been left household following an accident as he can’t afford an electric wheelchair 

The 48-year-old’s life fell apart when he was thrown from his bike and broke his back in several places after being hit by a van on the A48 at Crack Hill, near Bridgend, and was left at the roadside.

Despite his hopes of recovering, he has been forced to endure a series of four operations on his spine; the most recent of which was two months ago and has left him unable to do anything that might pull a nerve.

His Twitter messages give an insight into the difficulty he has maintaining hope as for several weeks at a time, he hasn’t even left his house.

Three weeks ago he wrote: ‘It’s hard to be at the bottom of a well as you can look up and see normal life going on above, but you just can’t get there. The ropes of help people throw down are just too short.’

Two days ago, he wrote: ‘I think mentally this could be my hardest recovery I have ever done.

The once super-fit athlete, who was awarded an MBE for his achievements, is struggling to regain his independence as he is unable to leave home without any help

The once super-fit athlete, who was awarded an MBE for his achievements, is struggling to regain his independence as he is unable to leave home without any help

‘I can manage broken bones and still being able to ride, but when you are told don’t look at the bike and don’t do any physio that could pull the nerves which is anything, you know it will be tough.’

While yesterday, he added: ‘Why does the weather have to be so good as all I can think of is being on the road putting the miles in.

‘Straight to the point – anyone want to buy me or sponsor me an electric wheelchair so I can get out of house easier. We can get it logo-ed up.

‘I did have an idea I am willing to do a talk for anyone in return for a good portable electric wheelchair if that’s any good please.’

Simon Richardson competing Simon Richardson competing

Simon Richardson competing for Team GB at the Paralympics in Beijing. He won two gold, a silver and set a world record at the Games

It is not the first time that Mr Richardson has been involved in a cycling accident with a car.

In 2001, he was left disabled while out with friends from a cycling club.

It left him with serious leg and back injuries and no feeling down his left-hand side.

He continued to cycle after doctors recommended it would aid his rehabilitation – using a specially-adapted bike powered by his right leg.

He won Britain’s first gold at Beijing in the LC3/4 1km time trial in world record time and received the MBE in 2009.

Mr Richardson lighting the Olympic flame in Cardiff. The Paralympian is now offering his services as a motivational speaker to help pay for an £1,000 electric wheelchair

Mr Richardson lighting the Olympic flame in Cardiff. The Paralympian is now offering his services as a motivational speaker to help pay for an £1,000 electric wheelchair

But after the second crash in 2011, he was left with a fractured pelvis, ribs and sternum as well as a lacerated bowel and leg.

The father-of-two had been a hot contender to represent Great Britain again at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, but his dreams were scuppered because of the crash.

Mr Richardson said he now needs an electric wheelchair because doctors have ordered him not to risk further injury by propelling a normal wheelchair around.

Farmer Edward Adam, who was jailed for 18 months after hitting Mr Richardson with his car when he was twice the drink-drive limit 

Farmer Edward Adam, who was jailed for 18 months after hitting Mr Richardson with his car when he was twice the drink-drive limit 

He said: ‘I am not allowed to push the wheelchair outside following the surgery, so I have to look at using an electric wheelchair.

‘At the moment I am housebound unless I go out in the car or my wife pushes me around in the wheelchair.

“I feel like I’m trapped in the house, definitely.

‘My outlook on life has changed and I am struggling to cope with this mentally.’

Farmer Edward Adams, of Cross Farm, Cowbridge, was twice over the drink-drive limit and driving with chronically bad eyesight when he hit Mr Richardson in 2011.

The year after the accident, Adams was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for five years.

Speaking about the accident, Mr Richardson said he felt ‘no anger’ towards Adams.

He said: ‘I’m not worried about the accident anymore.

‘The bloke who hit me doesn’t bother me at all and I don’t have a problem with him, even though he was drunk that evening.

‘I do miss riding the bike a lot now. I didn’t realise it until the last operation and it hit home how bad I actually am.

‘I was planning on doing a charity ride from Paris to Swansea this year, but I can’t do it because I won’t be fit enough in time. I’m missing cycling.’

The Paralympian is now offering his services as a motivational speaker to help pay for an £1,000 electric wheelchair, which he says would help him to ‘socialise more’.

The Llanmaes, Vale of Glamorgan, resident, is in a recovery period following his surgery and is receiving basic physio, but he has been told not to even look at a bike.

After the recovery period, he will have X-rays and his doctors will decide what the next stage is.

Mr Richardson was struck while cycling along the A48 at Crack Hill, near Bridgend, pictured, in 2011, leaving him seriously injured 

Mr Richardson was struck while cycling along the A48 at Crack Hill, near Bridgend, pictured, in 2011, leaving him seriously injured 

He added: ‘The treatment really seems to be dragged out at the moment.

‘It could be a very long time before I have recovered, even up to two years, and there could be potential problems with arthritis of the spine.

‘The doctors have said they are not sure at present, but possibly I could get back on the bike again but it may have to be a recumbent trike.

‘It’s confusing for me because I am better than I was but still worse than I was before the accident.’

Anybody wanting to help with Mr Richardson’s fund for an electric wheelchair can contact him on simonrichardsonmbe@btinternet.com.

FROM BIKE CRASH HORROR TO BEIJING GLORY AND BACK 

Simon Richardson kisses one of his gold medals after winning a cycling event at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing 

Simon Richardson kisses one of his gold medals after winning a cycling event at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing 

Simon Richardson was left disabled after a serious accident in 2001.

Then aged 34, he was out riding with his cycling club when he collided with a car that was travelling at 60mph.

He was left with serious injuries to his leg and his back was broken in two places, leaving him with no feeling down his left hand side.

On the advice of his doctors, who wished to encourage his rehabilitation, Simon began cycling again in 2005, using a specially adapted bike powered by his right leg and a support system fitted to his spine.

It led him into a competitive career and being chosen for the Welsh national team, with whom he made his debut in 2006.

He competed in the Welsh Grand Prix that year and later competed in the Para-Cycling Europa Cup held in Germany in 2007.

He was picked for the Great Britain Paralympic Squad for the 2008 games in Beijing, China.

It was here Simon recorded his greatest achievements, after winning a gold medal and set a world record in the men’s 1km time trial, a gold medal in the men’s individual pursuit, and a silver medal in the road time trial.

He also competed in the men’s individual road race where he finished in tenth place.

Astonishingly, after his accident in 2011, he was treated by the same spinal surgeon, Paul Rhys-Davies, at Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales, who treated him after his first crash a decade earlier.

He is now left housebound as he is unable to afford an electric wheelchair.

 


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Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3085166/Gold-winning-Paralympian-left-housebound-horrific-road-crash-t-afford-electric-wheelchair.html