Top biker makes uphill recovery
Queenstown downhill bike star Alanna Columb is ‘‘pumped to be alive’’ despite her eye not opening, after a serious bike crash earlier this year.
The three-time national champion and international top 10 downhill biker is now undergoing an uphill recovery after she suffered a severe brain injury when she landed on her jaw at Gorge Rd Jump Park on January 10.
She was placed in an induced coma for four days and underwent four weeks of intensive care treatment at Dunedin Hospital.
Now staying at her parents’ Queenstown home, Alanna, 29, said she had progressed from not knowing who she was to walking, and talking, and almost being ‘‘the old Alanna’’.
However, her right eye nerves were damaged and were a key focus of her ongoing rehabilitation. But Alanna says she is happy, despite only using one eye and getting tired easily.
‘‘I am just pretty pumped to be alive to be honest. It’s phenomenal how well it [recovery] has gone,’’ she said.
It was difficult staying indoors after spending years racing bikes and keeping active.
‘‘It’s been pretty crazy traumatic. You go into a weird depression.’’
Her mother Marilyn Columb was ‘‘over the moon’’ about her daughter’s speedy recovery. ‘‘She’s very lucky that it has been a surprisingly good recovery. She’s getting the help she needs and she’s doing so, so well.’’
Work has been put on hold for six months and so has mountain biking. Alanna was keen to start riding again but doctors have told her it would take ‘‘quite some time’’ before she was ready.
‘‘She loves her biking, she loves the outdoors and she has a new passion of yoga so she would like to possibly teach that down the track,’’ Marilyn said.
To stay active Alanna has started going for walks. She is not planning a return to competitive mountain biking but is hoping to teach young women the basics of biking and yoga.
Alanna’s brother, motocross rider Scott Columb, said she was wearing protective gear when the accident happened. He had noticed a big improvement in Alanna’s health since flying with her in the helicopter to the hospital. ‘‘She was in intensive care for three days, the doctors were not saying too much. The fact that she’s walking and talking - she is doing well.’’
Alanna being young and with the recovery, Scott said.
As well as being the New Zealand mountain bike downhill champion three times she won the Oceania mountain bike championships in Queenstown in 2016. fit helped
Thee times NZ downhill mountain biking champion and world’s top ten biker Alanna Columb is recovering from her severe brain injury and a coma after a bike accident and her mother Marilyn Columb in Queenstown.