Waiting game to discover if speedway rider Darcy Ward’s spinal surgery was a success
- Credit: IAN BURT
The speedway family is holding its breath as the world waits to learn the full extent of Darcy Ward's serious back injury.
The Australian has undergone a two-and-a-half hour operation on his spine after being involved in a sickening crash on Sunday evening. The Australian was competing for his Polish club Zielona Gora against GKM Grudziadz when he was caught up in the high-speed incident which ended with him landing awkwardly on his neck.
Gora officials held a press conference yesterday to confirm that the former King's Lynn rider, who competed for the Stars in 2009, is stable, conscious, breathing on his own and responsive to others. The European giants hope to provide a fuller update on Ward's condition by tomorrow evening.
Dr Robert Zapotoczny, speaking through an interpreter outside the Olimp Sports Medicine Centre where the Aussie remains, insisted the 23-year-old 'was in no real danger' as he recovers from the spinal surgery.
Gora's team doctor added: 'We know how progress can be really fabulous in terms of knowledge and how the doctors these days can react and fight against disease, or even in some special cases they can do miracle things.
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'We do believe within the next two days we will be updating what is going on with Darcy's situation. It leaves us 48 hours to be more precise with the extent of his injuries.
'We want to say a big thank you to all the supporters of Gora, and the speedway community, for what they've done for Darcy.'
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The Poole Pirates' asset – who currently competes in England for Elite League Swindon Robins – is being comforted in the hospital by close friend, racer Chris Holder, and his long-time mentor Neil Middleditch. The Poole boss has treated the Queenslander like an adopted son having provided him with a British base for a number of years.
Pirates' owner Matt Ford told his club's website: 'It goes without saying that the news has hit our club hard. We treat Darcy as one of our own and we will continue to do everything possible to help Darcy through this difficult time.'
Ward has only recently returned to action after serving a lengthy ban for failing a pre-meeting alcohol test at a Grand Prix round last August.
Swindon's fixture at Poole last night was postponed as both clubs come to terms with the news.
Robins boss Alun Rossiter said: 'Darcy's crash is devastating news, and speedway doesn't matter at the moment. We've all been so focused on making the play-offs and winning meetings, but when something like this happens, it just brings you back down to earth.'
Lynn's Rory Schlein and Lewis Kerr – both of whom have sustained serious injuries while riding this year – are among the hundreds of people who have posted messages of support on Twitter for the stricken star who is seen as one of the best racers in the world.