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European Champion triathlete Claire Danson has revealed she is paralysed from the waist down.
The 30-year-old suffered an accident in August of this year while on her bike and posted a message to her Instagram explaining the incident, her injuries and the beginning of her recovery.
Danson, who in May won a European title in the 30-34 age-group category, was riding her bike when it was involved in a collision with a tractor. She suffered two punctured lungs and broke a finger, both wrists, the head of her humerus (upper arm) and both shoulders.
She also severed her spinal cord at T9 (at the base of her back), which means she is now paralysed from her “belly button downwards”.
Incredibly, Danson plans to carry on competing and is planning her next triathlon, saying: "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!]"
In her post, she wrote: "Now I am ready to share my story of the incident that has changed my life forever.
"A story of going from European champion to life in a wheelchair."
"I have had quite a few surgeries to sort all this and now have a large amount of metal in me. All of this will heal fully.
"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.
"Unfortunately, I also suffered a complete sever to my spinal cord at T9. This means that I am paralysed from my belly button downwards.
"This is of course not something that will heal.”
Claire is also the sister of England hockey star, Alex Danson. On her twitter page, Alex posted a message about Claire which said: “I have seen the girl I love turn into the girl I admire more than anyone in the world. In the blink of an eye her world has been turned upside down and her bravery, strength and that damn amazing smile are still there.
“She’s the most resilient, hard working and inspiring person you will ever meet and having already overcome many challenges in her life, I know she will reign a champion of this one too.”
Alex, who won gold with Team GB at the Rio Olympics in 2016, is currently undergoing her own recovery.
In September of last year she hit her head on a concrete wall laughing at a joke told by her husband. She suffered a severe concussion as a result that made her sensitive to light, touch and sound, and hasn’t played since. Like her sister, she fully intends on competing again.
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