Mountain Biking Magazine





The doctors have confirmed that Matti will not need an operation to stabilise the fractured vertebrae. This is great news for Matti who has been dreading the idea of a major operation.

Due to the position of the breaks (no.4 has one fracture and no.5 has two fractures), it would have meant operating from the front, going in through the chest cavity, which is obviously a much more delicate and complicated operation. The doctors have confirmed there are no floating bones pieces, which is also good news. However, they have said that should the vertebrae shift in position, they will need to review the matter.

“Obviously I have to keep my back straight and not bend forward or do anything to risk the movement of the vertebrae. Yesterday I was vomiting from the painkillers and it was the most painful puke ever! I had to keep my back straight and it was pretty bad, but last night was my first full night of sleep, so things are getting better,” said Matti this morning.

He had this to say about the crash.

“I landed directly onto my head, but slightly to the right. The helmet is marked on the top at the right. Also I have a big skin abrasion on my right collarbone where the jawline of the helmet cut me, that’s how far over my head was. The doctors feel that on impact my spine twisted one way, and then the next, like a zig zag, and they say it’s a miracle it’s not a lot worse. The three vertebrae have what they call a compressed fracture. They are in the area of the spine that are level with the chest. I’m still in pain but can breathe fairly comfortably, but I want to thank everyone who has contacted me with nice messages, it makes you realise how lucky you are to have so many friends and people that care, and that makes me want to get better as soon as possible.”

It is anticipated that Matti will be transfered from hospital in the coming days to a recovery and rehabilitation centre. The doctors are predicting that with or without the operation, Matti will remain hospitalised for another 2 or 3 weeks, then start 3 months of rehabilitation. It will be a further couple of months before he can expect to put any regular athletic demands on his back again.

Matti has been overwhelmed by the number of messages and well wishes. This morning Matti received a call from former Downhill World Champion, Vanessa Quin, who called form New Zealand. This meant a lot to Matti as Vanessa has had more than her fair share of neck/spinal injuries and was able to give Matti some very reassuring words.

Matti is keeping a diary, and when he’s able to, will keep everyone up to date through a blog on his new team’s web site, at



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