British adventurer James Cracknell hit by truck in Arizona
The adventurer James Cracknell was rushed to hospital with head injuries after being knocked off his bicycle by a truck during an attempt to cross America.
The British Olympic rowing champion suffered a fractured skull, a gash to the back of his head and bruising to his brain after being hit him from behind on a quiet strip of road in Arizona.
His life was saved by his crash helmet, which took the full force of the impact.
The accident happened just after sunrise at 5.30am on Tuesday near the city of Winslow in the south-western US state.
The truck driver called an ambulance and Cracknell was rushed to a local hospital before being transferred to Phoenix, Arizona, where his wife, Beverley, and family are at his bedside.
Despite his head injuries, described by medics as “moderate to severe”, Cracknell did not lose consciousness and was able to talk to paramedics.
The Olympic gold medalist suffered several minor cuts and bruises, but escaped without any broken bones.
The gash on the back of his head has been stapled and the 38-year-old is said to be conscious and in a stable condition. Doctors expect him to make a full recovery, but cannot yet predict how long he will need to remain in hospital. There are no plans to operate.
Cracknell was attempting to break an endurance record by crossing the US - from Los Angeles to New York - by running, cycling, rowing and swimming in just 16 days. A crew from the Discovery Channel were accompanying him but were not recording at the time.
A planned 2,745 mile follow-up bike race from Canada to Mexico with his fellow adventurer Ben Fogle – due to start in August – has been put on hold.
Fogle, who cut short a two-week family holiday in Austria with his wife and son to rush to Cracknell's bedside on Thursday, said: “My thoughts and prayers go to James’s family at this anxious time. Having spent many months in some of the toughest places on earth with him, I know how strong willed he is and I’m sure he’ll bounce back soon.”
The pair have collaborated on a number of adventures, including racing to the South Pole and rowing the Atlantic.
A statement released by the Discovery Channel said: “At approximately 0530 (PCT), 1330 (GMT) on 20 July, James Cracknell was involved in a road traffic accident while cycling in Winslow, Arizona. James was taken to hospital where is being treated for a head injury. He is conscious and his condition is stable; doctors have said he is making good progress. His wife and family are at his side as he continues to recover.”
The British Olympic cyclist Steve Redgrave had a similar accident last month in an attempt to cycle 3,000 miles across the US from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.
The 48-year-old, who won a record five gold medals in rowing, was thrown to the ground by a blow-out puncture in Maryland and suffered broken ribs and a shattered cheek bone.