Küng Released From Hospital26. May 2015, St. Gallen (SUI) — Road Team
Stefan Küng of the BMC Racing Team was released from a Swiss hospital Tuesday, less than a week after fracturing his vertebrae in a crash at the Giro d'Italia.
Küng was able to walk to an afternoon news conference at Kantonsspital St. Gallen. He thanked the team management and staff and everyone who has helped him since his crash last Thursday while descending a mountain pass in the rain on Stage 12.
"I feel good, I can sleep, I can stand up, I can take a shower," he said. "I am kind of back to normal – not on my bike – but I am feeling good. Under the circumstances, I can be very happy that I can already go home."
Küng's attending physician, Dr. Fabrice Külling, said the reigning world individual pursuit champion is making a good initial recovery. Küng did not suffer any brain damage and he is not expected to undergo any operations, Külling said.
"The kind of fracture he had, a lot of times it happens that they have neurological complications," Kuelling said. "Lucky for him, he is doing fine. He was also lucky because the fracture was in the thoracic region, which is pretty stable – even though it is what we call an unstable fracture. I think he is doing fine because he is a good sports guy."
Küng said he considers himself lucky not to have suffered a more serious or permanent injury. Two riders slid out in front up him and he shot over his handlebars, landing on his head and suffering a compression fracture of his T9 vertebrae.
"I am very happy that my back is not harmed," Küng said. "I am still able to walk and I am not paralyzed, which is always possible with a vertebrae fracture. For a sportsman, it is very hard to lay in bed, coming out of the Giro … 12 stages … every day on the bike … and then just laying in the bed. It is really hard. I always want to go forward. I am kind of a person who always needs somebody to hold me back. Now it is my back that is holding me back."
Külling said Küng will have to wait at least six to eight weeks before he can even consider riding again. Additional examinations and water therapy will determine how his rehabilitation progresses.
A solo winner of a stage of the Tour de Romandie and the Volta Limburg Classic, Küng is disappointed to miss his goal race of the year, next month's Tour de Suisse. But he said he has new goals now.
"For sure, I will be back on my bike. I am not sure at which level, but I think in six weeks," he said. "That is the first goal I have. Then we will see how it goes, day-by-day."
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