Interview with Access Sports Med before the King Challenge

 

With the 2012 King of the Road Challenge just a few weeks away, Dr. Kevin Heaton had the opportunity to talk with professional cyclist Timmy Duggan about cycling and recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Heaton:
Timmy, I know that you have had a good year on the bike. Can you tell us a little about that?

Timmy Duggan:
2012 has been a great year in that I’ve accomplished a couple of big goals that I had wanted to check off during my career, winning a national championship and competing in the Olympics.

Dr. Heaton:
Can you tell us a little bit about your career before your traumatic brain injury (TBI) and then tell us about your injury?

Timmy Duggan
I began my athletic career as an alpine ski racer, and tranitioned late into cycling after high school. I raced for the Garmin Pro Cycling Team for several years, when I had my big crash in 2008, competing at the Tour of Georgia. I suffered a subarachnoid hemmhorage and a subdural hematoma.

I was very lucky to recover and not only get my normal life back, but my elite cycling career back as well. In the 2 years after my injury I questioned myself many many times whether I would be able to be my normal self again. But because of the support of my wife, family, friends, and cycling team, and the grace of God, I eventually felt back on top again.

Dr. Heaton:
How common are TBI’s in cycling? What have cyclist done to prevent these injuries? And following your injury what have you done to raise awareness about the dangers of TBI?

Timmy Duggan:
While TBI’s of the severity that I had are not very common, Concussion are unfortunately a lot more typical. The medical authorities in cycling are becoming more aware and implementing better protocol in terms of concussions and return to competition.

Dr. Heaton:
Do you have advice for other cyclists on head injury prevention and awareness?

Timmy Duggan:
Obviously, always wear a helmet, even during a non-threatening ride on the cruiser bike to the grocery store. Also, if a concussion does happen to you, appreciate that it is a rather serious injury even if you are feeling good. Give yourself more than enough time to recover. Second impact syndrome is no joke.

Dr. Heaton:
We see athletes that play sports at all levels. Many of them are recovering from concussions and mostly mild TBI but they still deal with post-concussion syndrome, depression and the frustration that can come along with recovering from this type of injury. What advice would you give these athletes to help them with their recovery? How did you stay motivated?

Timmy Duggan:
I definitely dealt with the problems of depression and frustration after my injury. And it took a long time to get back to a normal place. The best advice I can give is to just realize that the process is a roller coaster, you’ll have good days and bad days and that totally normal. A bad day doesn’t mean things are regressing. I stayed motivated by staying focused on a long term goal, and setting smaller, daily goals to stay focused and monitor small improvements.

Dr. Heaton:
Can you tell us about JustGoHarder? What is this and what does it mean?

Timmy Duggan:
The Just Go Harder foundation provides scholarships to kids to get involved in grassroots cycling and skiing competition programs.

Dr. Heaton:
What are your plans for the 2013 season and beyond, what are your goals for the future?

Timmy Duggan:
For the 2013 season I will be changing team from Liquigas-Cannondale to the Canadian Spidertech-C10 team. I’ll look forward to more opportunities to race a a team leader and to help grow the ambitious team.

Speak Your Mind

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The lessons learned, the obstacles overcome, the limits pushed, the goals attained…these things make up the spirit of sport. One must define success in sport based not on victories alone, but also ask the questions; did I push myself to the edge? Did I learn from my mistakes? How can I apply this to my life beyond sport? The Just Go Harder Foundation provides assistance to those pursuing the answer within themselves.

The Just Go Harder Foundation is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization that relies on fundraising and donations to offset the costs of sport and mentorship program fees.