Career under threat

By ADAM HICKS sport@northernstar.com.au KANE SIMPSON'S professional triathlon career remains uncertain today as he awaits surgery on a badly broken leg sustained during a gruesome training accident at Lennox Head.

The 19-year-old had recently been offered a spot with the prestigious outfit Team Witten, on the professional German circuit next year, and now faces a long wait to learn if he can ever return to top level competition.

Doctors were unable to operate yesterday as the swelling was too great around the two bones he snapped when he crashed his bicycle and became lodged under a car on Tuesday.

Simpson's coach Justin Drew said it was too early to tell the long-term affects of the injuries, but said Simpson was already asking when he could return to training.

"Kane is head-strong and committed and the first thing he was asking about was when he can get back into it," Drew said.

"He has a strong support network rallied around him to help him get back into it.

"He certainly has some hurdles in front of him, but I'm confident he'll get back on top of that and bounce back."

"Kane's positive about getting back and getting into it." Simpson was one of six athletes, including Athens Olympian Simon Thompson, returning to the NSW Institute of Sport triathlon December Base Camp at Lake Ainsworth when a car reportedly pulled out in front of them in an incident now under investigation by police.

Simpson's team-mates lifted the car and dragged him out then went to the Lennox Head Medical Centre to fetch a doctor for immediate treatment.

"He has a compound fracture of the tibia and fibia ... snapped cleanly and his leg bent around," Drew said.

"Obviously it was a disturbing experience for the guys but they rallied around to support Kane.

"I don't want to speculate (on his recovery) but it is certainly a lengthy process."

Simpson was using the training camp as preparation for his first season in the Under-23 division.

"He's a very talented, up and coming athlete hence the (quality) group he's out their training with, getting some solid training in before the start of the season," Drew said.

Simpson was to compete in the National Series and Oceania Championship early next year where he was expected to press for selection in the Australian Under-23 squad.

"This was his first year up from the juniors ... he was certainly in the top 10-15 juniors last year," Drew said. "It was definitely a more serious year for him in terms of racing in Germany and racing against seniors.

"The German pro circuit is regarded as one of the best pro circuits in the world and Team Witten is regarded as one of the best teams."

Simpson's mother Vicki, who was with him in hospital yesterday, said she was grateful to everyone who helped out after the crash.

"I just wanted to make sure the boys were thanked for their assistance at the scene yesterday," she said.

"And also for Justin who followed the ambulance to the hospital. "They were really a big help."



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