Glengormley road racer Steven Lynd made the headlines for all the wrong reasons almost a year ago when he nearly lost his life at the 2017 Ulster Grand Prix.
Lynd had a horrendous accident exiting ‘Loughers Bend’ during the out lap of Wednesday’s Dundrod 150 practice.
He suffered life-changing injuries in the accident but he is thankfully now on the mend and attended the Tandragee 100 at the start of May, his first race meeting since that fateful day.
The quietly spoken racer hasn’t lost his appetite for the sport despite his accident as he explained when we chatted about what happened just under a year ago and about his recovery to date.
I wondered what were his thoughts returning to his first race since that fateful day back in August 2017?
“It was good to get back to a race meeting but I was a wee bit apprehensive before going. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it but when I got around the paddock and met everyone again it was great.
“Everyone was wishing me well and saying good to see you back then I watched a bit of racing. It was good but at the same time it annoyed me, as I just wanted to be back out there racing. I met up with Jan from the Injured Riders Fund who looked after me all day.
“Her brother got me some VIP treatment which was great and I just sat back and watched the racing. Now I’ve been back I will keep going.
“In fact I am going to try and get back involved with the sport. I have a couple of bikes and I was talking to a couple of people with the idea of getting them to ride them and sort of become a type of sponsor. We have everything in the garage and it is a bit of a waste it all sitting doing nothing.”
What do you remember about the accident?
“Not much. I was in a coma for just under four weeks, in the Royal Victoria, then a week in HDU then up onto the ward after that. In total I was in hospital just over eight months.
“I was discharged a couple of weeks prior to the Tandragee but I still have to go back for physio and follow up stuff along with a return to Dublin in June to see the surgeon to find out how the arm is progressing.”
At the moment Steven’s right arm is the biggest issue in his recovery with all the nerve damage that was done in the accident. It is going to take a long time to find out the final outcome of the injury.
“It is going to take time but hopefully it will progress. I have been told somewhere between one to three years. It’s a long time.”
The progress he has made since the crash is nothing short of amazing. In the initial prognathous he was told that he would be paralyzed from the nipple line down but this was something that he wasn’t prepared to except.
“At the start I couldn’t move. They said I was paralyzed. It was a bit of a shock to be told something like that but I was determined not to except that I would never walk again.
“The driving force was to get back and hopefully ride a bike again but after learning to walk obviously the arm injury has taken over and that’s going to be the long-term problem.”
At the beginning getting my back stabilized was the RVH medical team’s biggest concern. They operated on it while I was in the coma, so I didn’t know much about it until I regained consciousness. My back is more or less totally solid as they had to fit steel rods into it but also I had broken my neck in the accident which didn’t help.
“Once I was stabilized in the ward I was transferred to the Musgrave Park physio department to learn how to walk again. It was some experience.
“The first couple of days were funny as they got me up to start learning to walk again. I had to laugh as at one point I resembled a newborn giraffe with legs all over the place,” he recalled.
“I owe them a lot as they turned me around pretty quickly and got me back on my feet. It took around six weeks of hard work from getting me up out of bed to be able to get around with the help of a crutch.”
Steven, as he proved earlier in the story is not one to give up easily and was stillvery much up for a challenge despite the injuries. One day while in Musgrave Park he got his chance to again prove how determined he was to lead as normal a life as possible and overcome his disability.
He explains: “While I was in the physio unit one day they asked me and another couple of guys, who were in along with me if we wanted to go over to Stoke Mandeville to represent team Belfast at the spinal games.
“There were teams from all over the UK and Ireland competing. We all agreed but were only going for the laugh until we got there.
“I competed in the swimming, shooting and archery but I wasn’t too good at the archery. The swimming went well and I was third in my heat.
“Unfortunately they took the times from the overall and there were guys who had the use of both arms and they went faster and I ended up fifth. Luckily enough I took part in the shooting and out of fifty competitors I won it outright taking gold.”
Steven was quick to express his thanks to all the medical people who firstly saved his life and then put him back together again.
“I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you if it wasn’t for all the medical personnel who did such a fantastic job. Firstly I have to thank the MCUI Medical Team who were first on the scene and treated me in the field. They saved my life.
“They stabilized me and got me to hospital. Then the surgeons and staff in the Royal Victoria before the nurses and staff at Musgrave physio department took over.”