The Dutch national champion posted a personal message on Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s website Tuesday where he expressed his fear that he might have died had it not been for the quick reaction of Polish medical personnel.
“The trauma doctors and nurses at the finish line in Katowice saved my life, for which I am extremely grateful to them,” Jakobsen wrote. “It was a difficult, dark period for me in the ICU, where I was afraid of not surviving.”
The 23-year-old sprinter spent a week in an intensive-care unit in the wake of his high-speed crash into barriers and a finish-line barrier on August 5. Doctors operated on him for five hours, and he was placed into an induced coma to stabilize his condition.
Last week, he was transferred to the Leiden University Medical Center, and returned home to begin rehabilitation and other followup treatment that could include more surgery.
“Step by step, I can start to live more independently,” Jakobsen said. “Currently I am at home, where the wounds in my face and my injuries can continue to recover. In addition, I have to rest a lot in the coming months because of a severe concussion. In the coming weeks and months, I will undergo multiple surgeries and treatments to fix facial injuries.”
Doctors are not putting any limits on Jakobsen’s recovery, but it’s obvious he will not race again in 2020. Jumbo-Visma has since sidelined sprinter Dylan Groenewegen after he was disqualified for provoking the crash that also took down another half-dozen riders. The UCI promised to investigate the incident that has also triggered a wave of complaints about rider safety.
“I want to let everyone know that I am very grateful that I am still alive,” Jakobsen said. “All the messages and words of support have given me tremendous strength. Step by step I can slowly look to the future, and I will fight to recover.”