The serious situation relating to the Lotto Soudal rider Kris Boeckmans has improved significantly, with the Belgian regaining consciousness on Thursday.
Boeckmans has been in an induced coma since he crashed on stage eight of the Vuelta a España. He suffered several fractures, a concussion, three broken ribs, pneumothorax, laceration of the lung, bleeding of the lung and swollen pulmonary tissue in the fall.
Earlier this week the artificial ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) respiration he was being administered was stopped, but he remained under a different form of assisted breathing. This has now been stopped.
“Lotto Soudal is very happy to announce that Kris Boeckmans is no longer kept in an induced coma and that the recovery is evolving positively,” said his team in an update.
“After the ECMO treatment was stopped and the drain was removed from the thorax, the past 48 hours the tracheal cannula in the trachea was taken away, the external oxygen supply and the anaesthesia in function of the induced coma were phased out and stopped.”
The team said that as the various steps all went without complications, he was able to be raised out of his coma. The doctors then scanned his whole body in order to determine that no additional injuries are there other than what was originally diagnosed.
Boeckmans is now conversing with those around him, although further work needs to be done.
“This positive evaluation made it possible for Kris to talk with his family and the doctors,” the team continued. “He remains at the intensive care unit for further observation. One of these days, Kris will be repatriated with a medical flight, accompanied by a doctor and the required equipment.”
He will then be brought to a Belgian hospital where his recovery will continue.
The team has laid out the next steps.
“The rib fractures will have to heal in a natural way. Also the lung injuries will need their time to evolve,” it states. “The facial fractures will be treated surgically after a thorough analysis in Belgium.”
There is as yet no indication as to when he will be able to resume training, but it appears the danger has passed and he is on his way back to health.
The developments will be a massive relief to his family, friends and team-mates, as well as those who watched the stage and saw him lying stationary on the ground.