21 October 2019

Triathlon champion reveals accident has left her paralysed, adding 'but it won't stop me doing what I want to do'

Triathlete Claire Danson has revealed she is paralysed following a collision with a tractor while out on her bike in August.

Less than three months after claiming victory in the 30-34 category at the European Triathlon Championships, the 30-year-old suffered a number of life-changing injuries including complete severing of her spinal cord that has left her paralysed from her belly button downwards.

Writing on her Instagram page, Danson said: "I suffered two punctured lungs, broke a finger, both wrists, the head of my humerus and both shoulders.

Incredibly, Danson still has a smile on her face (Claire Danson instagram)

"I also fractured all the bones in my neck, including a break to one, and had multiple fractures and breaks to every one of my ribs."

She assured her followers that these will heal following multiple surgeries and a large amount of metalwork.

"Unfortunately, I also suffered a complete sever to my spinal cord at T9," she added. "This means that I am paralysed from my belly button downwards.

"This is of course not something that will heal," she added.

The resilient competitor also said: "Whilst I still have hard moments, I have accepted the situation I am now in and won't be letting it stop me do anything that I want to [including triathlon!]

Claire is the younger sister of Team GB hockey star, Alex Danson, who was part of the gold medal winning team in Rio in 2016. 

Claire's older sister Alex Danson on her way to Olympic gold in Rio (PA Images)

Talking of her sister, the hockey player said: "She's the most resilient, hard-working and inspiring person you will ever meet."

She finished by saying: "Having already overcome many challenges in her life before, I know she will reign a champion of this one too."

The triathlon champion remains optimistic and assured her followers that it will not change her, writing: "Now you have this info all I ask is for you to remember that I am still exactly the same person. I still have crazy hair and a mad laugh, I am still the clumsiest person you have met and I will still tell the most long-winded yet entertaining stories. So please treat me as the same old Claire. Nothing has changed there."

She wants to use this experience as a way to advance what is known about spinal injuries saying: "I would like you to follow me and I would like you to learn all about spinal injuries with me. This world is so new to me I want to help educate others as to what it is like and what it involves."

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