Jolanda Neff on road to recovery

After crash, Neff breaks from racing for at least three months

After a serious crash while mountain biking in North Carolina on December 22, Jolanda Neff had an emergency procedure to stem internal bleeding in her spleen. Leaving the hospital three days later, she began her recovery process in North Carolina supported by her boyfriend and his family. She now knows enough to share what the next few months will be for her: a break from racing.

Q: How are you feeling after such a serious injury?
Neff: “I’ve received so much support and love from everyone, it was really overwhelming. I think I was really lucky in the whole situation with everyone reacting quickly and having the best care possible. This is a whole other level of injury, I’m very lucky it wasn’t worse. I am so thankful for the care my boyfriend and his parents have given me.”

Q: What do you know now, two weeks after your crash, about your injury?
Neff: “My spleen is still in my body but it is dead. After the embolization where they plugged my artery to stop bleeding, there is no more blood flow in my spleen. It will remain in my body, but it is dead. The spleen is important for your immune system, but you can live without a functioning spleen. I have to be super careful now not to burst the plug in my artery. That would start internal bleeding and require emergency surgery.”

Q: What are the most important steps for your recovery?
Neff: “I cannot raise my blood pressure for next three months because I need to be very gentle with the artery plug. The medical staffed advised three months of very little movement to make sure my blood pressure stays really low. Hopefully, as an athlete, I will be able to recover a little quicker and take up cycling in less than three months.”

Q: What does this injury mean for your 2020 racing schedule?
Neff: “I will not race again until after March. I fly back to Switzerland next week to make plan with the Swiss Olympic team doctor, Patrik Noack, on how to go forward. The more I rest, the faster I recover.”