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By Jason Sumner, VeloNews associate editor
ITS-Santa Cruz team director Derin Stockton checked in with VeloNews on Thursday with an update on downhiller John Waddell. The 22-year-old Aussie spent nearly a month in a coma following a crash at the end of his run at the Mont-Ste-Anne World Cup downhill on June 28, when carried too much speed into the finish-area jump and overshot the landing. The majority of the impact was to Waddell’s head, which led to an extensive stay in a Quebec City hospital.
Waddell was checked out of the Quebec hospital in mid-July, and then flown home. It wasn’t until then that he came out of his coma and woke up on July 24. Three weeks later the news continues to get better. “The first news is that I talked with him last week,” wrote Stockton in an e-mail. “It was so good to hear his voice again. I know everyone would feel like I did, that we are all glad to hear his voice. His speech and motor skills have been improving rapidly, and he is getting better every day.
“His left side is the slower side to come back to full function, but it is improving. He can stand and walk by himself, and while he is not doing that at 100 percent yet, he is up and moving and improving.
“Johnny is scheduled to move from the hospital he is in to a rehabilitation hospital in the next couple of days, so he will be able to get into full swing on his rehab.
“As far as long term prognosis, we are still in the same boat in that he will continue his therapy and working on his recovery. Only time will tell exactly what will happen. The great news is that he is already so far ahead of the predictions about where he might get to that it gives great hope for where he will finally end up.”