Vicky Williamson is a professional GB cyclist who suffered devastating spinal injuries after crashing during the Rotterdam Ahoy 6 day race back in 2016. She was racing Elis Ligtlee when they collided and a serious crash occurred. Vicky was rushed to hospital where she remained for a week, before returning to Manchester where she stayed in Stepping Hill hospital (Stockport) for approximately 4 weeks before being able to go home.
She suffered severe spinal injuries (a fracture to C3 and a C5/C6 prolapsed disc, multiple fractures of the transverse processes from L1-L5, L4/L5 spinous process fractures, as well as a L5-S1 dislocation). She also fractured and dislocated her pelvis and cut the back of her head, which actually went unnoticed for weeks but was later stitched up. Shortly prior to the accident, Vicky had been shortlisted for the Rio 2016 Olympics and so she was devastated to learn the extent of her injuries. In total, Vicky underwent 4 surgeries. The first was in Rotterdam where her huge open back wound was first sewed up and she lost a third of her blood. The second was also in Rotterdam where she had her pelvis pinned. The third was back in the UK, where she had a spinal fusion. The fourth was in November 2017, where her back screws were removed.
Vicky was unable to walk again for 3-4 months after her accident. Paralysis was uncertain for some time after her injury. Many thought she would never compete again. To put it into context, one of the doctors for British Cycling told her: “I would have put my life savings that you would never compete again”. It was not until May 2017 that Vicky attended Bisham Abbey for 9 months. It was here she began utilising PHYSIOLAB alongside her rehab. They monitored her progress in the gym, set her targets and did not push her to take on challenges until she was ready. The Bisham Abbey ICU did not know whether they could get Vic back to competing level, but were determined to try given her potential and proven record prior to the accident. They told her that they weren’t 100% sure they could help, but were willing to try.
“I used PHYSIOLAB 2-3 times a day. I used it in the morning to warm up my lower back before I began my day with extensive mobility. I then used it after sessions to ice, not only my lower back, but also any other minor injuries I had from the intensive gym training ie. I used the shoulder attachment for some joint issues I was having. It massively helped me to get the best out of training and recovery, enabling me to progress as fast as possible through my rehab.”
– Victoria Williamson
Thanks to her time at Bisham Abbey, Vicky is now back to full fitness and competing. She claims she would never be in the “competitive position” she is today without her team there and lends them great credit. Vicky is no longer reliant on physio: she gets by with a couple of short sessions and a sports massage a week. Her long term goal is to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“I am twice the athlete I was before, in a different way. The team at Bisham Abbey helped to make me more robust, physically, psychologically and socially. Everything I achieve from here on in is a plus.”
– Victoria Williamson
We are delighted to hear that Victoria has been able to make a miraculous recovery and we cannot wait to see her resilience as she returns to the tracks in the near future. Follow Vicky’s journey on Instagram.