Dan Atherton - 'Breaking My Neck Has Changed My Life'

Mountain Biking Magazine



Dan Atherton – ‘Breaking My Neck Has Changed My Life’

From Dirt Issue 113 – July 2011

Photo: Sven Martin

Back on July 6th 2010, Dan Atherton crashed his bike at his local trails and broke his neck. To put it bluntly, he was lucky not to be paralysed…or worse. Ten months later we caught up with Dan, now fully recovered, to see how his accident has affected him, both on and off the bike. Mike Rose.

I am unbelievable focused on exactly what I want to achieve in life. Before my crash I thought I had all the time in the world to achieve my goals and now I realize that I am not indestructible. Life throws things at you and you have to adapt.

While I was injured I did a lot of things other than training and racing. My eyes were opened to a world outside of racing and I put in place a few ideas and visions for the future.

As an athlete my time was always spent looking after myself, either training or resting, however when I was injured I had a lot more time to just hang out with family and friends and not have to think about if I should be resting properly or eating more.

For years we have wanted to move house and never had time. Finally I was able to sell our old place and find another.

It proved to people that we can function as individuals, Gee’s overall win last year was unbelievable.

For me personally it proved how driven I am. To be able to come back from this injury made me believe I could do almost anything.

It gave me a huge amount of respect for people like Nate Adams (FMX rider) who have come back from huge injuries and forced their way back to the top of their sport.

It forced me to break away from living and training with Gee and Rach and live out in America by myself. That was definately good for me and made me grateful for having those two around to train with.

It gave me a lot more time to write blogs and return team manager Dan Brown’s emails….maybe.

I have made the decision to focus on downhill, it is where I started and it’s what I love most about mountain biking. That in itself is a good enough reason.


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