For­mer cham­pion Hay­den in crit­i­cal con­di­tion

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ROME: For­mer Mo­toGP cham­pion Nicky Hay­den has suf­fered se­vere brain dam­age and his con­di­tion is “ex­tremely crit­i­cal” after be­ing hit by a car while cy­cling in eastern Italy, the Amer­i­can’s Honda World Su­per­bike team said on Thurs­day.

Honda quoted Ce­sena’s Mau­r­izio Bu­falini hospi­tal as say­ing the 35-year-old had “a se­ri­ous poly­trauma with sub­se­quent se­ri­ous cere­bral dam­age.”

Doc­tors had placed the 2006 Mo­toGP cham­pion, known as “The Ken­tucky Kid“, into a med­i­cally in­duced coma after the in­ci­dent on Wed­nes­day, the BBC re­ported ear­lier.

Hay­den was taken to the hospi­tal after be­ing struck by a car while train­ing on his bi­cy­cle along Italy’s Adri­atic coast fol­low­ing a week­end Su­per­bike race at the Imola cir­cuit.

Honda said he was taken ini­tially by am­bu­lance to a hospi­tal near the coastal re­sort of Ri­mini be­fore then be­ing trans­ferred to Ce­sena.

Hay­den’s fi­ancee Jackie and team mem­bers had been joined at his bed­side by brother Tommy and mother Rose who flew in from the United States.

Ital­ian me­dia quoted the hospi­tal as say­ing on Wed­nes­day that Hay­den had suf­fered a cere­bral edema and lower body frac­tures and surgery had not been pos­si­ble im­me­di­ately be­cause of his con­di­tion.

Ital­ian great Valentino Rossi, who leads the cham­pi­onship and is rac­ing in France this week­end, hailed his for­mer team­mate as “one of the best friends I have had in the pad­dock.”

“Come on Nicky, we’re all with you,” added the 38-year-old .

Hay­den last raced in the Mo­toGP cham­pi­onship in Spain in Septem­ber 2016 as a stand-in for in­jured Aus­tralian Jack Miller at the pri­vately-run Marc VDS Honda team. He started 216 races be­tween 2003 and 2015, win­ning three.

The dan­gers of train­ing on pub­lic roads have been high­lighted in re­cent weeks by other ac­ci­dents af­fect­ing pro­fes­sional ath­letes.

Michele Scar­poni, the 2011 Giro d’Italia cy­cling cham­pion, was killed last month after be­ing hit by a van while train­ing close to his home in Filot­trano in eastern Italy.

Bri­tain’s Tour de France cham­pion Chris Froome es­caped un­hurt this month while hav­ing his bike writ­ten off in a hit-and-run in­ci­dent near his Monaco home. Reuters

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