Competitive road cycling is a demanding and unique sport. One where crashing is inevitable – especially at the professional level.
While the risk of head injury is relatively low in cycling – approximately 5-13% – compared to contact sports such as rugby, the consequences of a head impact when riding at speeds of over 40 kilometre per hour can be life changing or worse.
This was despite showing clear signs of concussion. He was later diagnosed with a brain haemorrhage.
Head injury in other sports
In the 2019 Rugby World Cup, for example, the implementation of the head injury assessment protocol was more prominent than ever, with fans witnessing the use of this in the competition.
Cricket has also introduced concussion substitutions to minimise risk to players. And some football teams have now imposed heading bans at youth level
Seeing these measures in place at professional and grassroots levels helps to normalise safer injury management and raises awareness of traumatic brain injuries. It also empowers athletes to more readily disclose any concerns about potential head injuries.
Yet cycling remains a leading example of athletes sacrificing their bodies for sporting glory.
Of course, traumatic brain injuries and concussions, can and do have life changing impacts.
The structural makeup of cycling also jeopardises safe injury management.
A shift in the way the media reports crashes and injuries would help.