Niyonshuti en route to full recovery from deep vein thrombosis, likely to return to racing in early 2014
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Niyonshuti en route to full recovery from deep vein thrombosis, likely to return to racing in early 2014

by Shane Stokes at 5:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
MTN Qhubeka rider nearing end of anticoagulant treatment, will be able to train outdoors from November

Adrien NiyonshutiSix months after he was forced to take a complete break from racing due to a problem with deep vein thrombosis, Adrien Niyonshuti is making a steady recovery from the problem and is expected to return to outdoor training in November.

The news, confirmed today by Niyonshuti and the MTN Qhubeka team’s director of health and performance, shows that the Rwandan rider is moving towards the next step in his recovery. He is training well indoors and if things continue going to plan, he will return to competition at the start of 2014.

“In the last few months, I've done some hard training. I've been averaging around 47 hours a month between riding on the indoor trainer and running,” he told VeloNation. “I've dealt with this happening to me and now I am very motivated to come back to my best.

“Because of the medication I am unable to cycle outdoors until later this year so I've been doing indoor sessions which our team coaches have set up. Besides the bike, I have been running on the road a few times a week.”

In just over two months time he will be able to step things up. “According to recent meetings with the doctor, it looks like I will be able to return to the road in November. I'll be training throughout November and December and join the team when we have the training camp. If all goes according to plan, as it seems it is, I will compete with the team when the season starts in 2014.”

The problem arose for the MTN Qhubeka rider after he took a flight from Rwanda in mid January. He experienced swelling in his right calf; when assessed by doctors, they discovered that he had suffered deep vein thrombosis (DVT) complicated by pulmonary emboli.

Due to the dangers of the situation, Niyonshuti was immediately hospitalized and given crucial treatment. After his release, he was put on blood thinners and told to rest.

MTN-Qhubeka team doctor Jon Patrios said at the time that the circumstances were serious and that the rider’s safety was of primary importance. “In a situation like this the immediate and long-term health of the athlete takes absolute precedence over the disappointment associated with the team losing one of our high profile riders,” he said.

Half a year later, the team’s director of health and performance Dr. Carol Austin explained the cause and treatment of the issue.

“Symptoms of the DVT occurred after an international flight, and his doctors believe that prolonged inactivity exacerbated by mild dehydration was the likely cause,” she stated. “Thorough medical investigations were completed, and no additional intrinsic risk factors for DVT were found.

Adrien Niyonshuti“Adrien expects to complete anticoagulant [blood thinning –ed.] treatment by November 2013. He will then transition to training outdoors and return to professional road racing for the 2014 season.”

She confirmed that once the current treatment has finished, Niyonshuti will have made a full recovery. It is not thought that there will be any long term repercussions for him, although he will have to be more careful when taking long flights.

“Based on his medical workup and progress to date, we do not foresee any future complications or a recurrence,” she told VeloNation. “He will simply be advised to will follow general DVT prevention recommendations, including the use of compression socks, walking, leg stretches and staying well-hydrated when travelling.”

Niyonshuti lost six of his brothers in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, escaping the slaughter with his parents. Years later he took up cycling as a way to move on and to focus on something different. He won the Tour of Rwanda in 2008, and was national road race champion in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Still just 26 years of age, he is regarded as a big talent and has a contract with MTN Qhubeka until the end of next season.


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