Bump in the Road

After a very promising start to my triathlon season I had a crash in my first major event resulting in a broken collar bone. My training was going really well since starting with a new coach in July and since setting my long-term goal to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World championships in September 2016. My first event was meant to be a great opportunity to see where I was at, if I had made improvements and possibly get my qualification for the 70.3 World Champs.

Racing at the Port Macquarie 70.3 Ironmen event in mid-October I came off my bike at the 40km mark of the bike leg. Having come out of the water in 3rd place I was sitting in 2nd position with the front group when the incident occurred.  Coming down hard on my shoulder on the road I knew immediately that my race was over and a trip to hospital was likely. The diagnosis was straightforward – broken clavicle and should damage with a trip to the shoulder surgeon as soon as possible.

Broken Clavicle X-Ray

X-Ray from hospital; Diagnosis – broken clavicle and shoulder joint damage

You experience so many emotions after an incident and injury like this, pain and fear are probably the most powerful ones immediately. It was difficult not think about how this injury was going to impact my day to day life, my training and my triathlon goals. At that moment everything was going to be a disaster and I was a shattered man, in a lot a pain, and with a 14 hour road trip to get home.

Luckily the clavicle and shoulder surgery are relatively straight forward and after waiting a week for the road rash. the surgery is completed successfully and the road to recovery commences.

X-Ray of repaired clavicle and AC joint

X-Ray of repaired clavicle and AC joint

As an athlete and a diabetic there are so many challenges an injury like this introduces, not least that as a right-hander I’m pretty much useless at everything for the next couple of weeks (try changing your pump with only one hand or using a knife and fork effectively).

Important things that I’m trying to do to get through this time are:

  1. Follow doctors instructions for rest and recovery including staying on pain killers to assist with healing. Speaking with diabetes doctor has also been important as some medications impact your blood sugar levels
  2. Keep on top of diabetes management and use the time to get non-training insulin patterns right; alternate basal and bolus doses as I’m not exercise and eating less
  3. Stay stress free, try to enjoy the down time and do things that I normally wouldn’t do like spend a whole day watching TV
  4. Thank those that are helping me and i make an effort to show them my appreciation. Their support is invaluable, especially when I need two hands
  5. Try not to stress about athletic goals, I can’t do nothing about these right now except making a full recovery
  6. Reassess goals and adjust them around the recovery time. Luckily as it’s early in the season my long-term goals are still achievable.

Most of all this is just a bump in the road, a good opportunity to post some gruesome x-ray images on social media, and before I know it I’ll be back to doing what I love.


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