Lisburn-based motorcycle racer Michael Pearson faces a long road to recovery following a crash in the Czech Republic last weekend.
The 37-year-old, who lives in the city, was left fighting for his life after crashing into trees at the Horice Road Races last Sunday.
In a bid to save the rider’s life, he was airlifted to hospital where he remained in a critical condition until Tuesday, when he was described as ‘stable’.
Pearson remains in the Intensive Care Unit and is expected to undergo an operation on his pelvis this weekend.
He was also due to have a CT scan on his spine to discover the extent of spinal damage, although the local man could move his feet and hands.
Pearson’s wife, Lisburn woman Diane, is with her husband in the Czech Republic, alongside his parents.
Pearson was involved in a first lap incident in the final race of the day, the Superbike Race, when he was struck by a wayward machine from another fallen rider.
Michael was immediately attended to by track side medical personnel, and the extent of his injuries were such that he was rushed by air ambulance to the emergency department of the Hradec Kralove Hospital where he was assessed before being taken to surgery for the treatment of internal bleeding, back and hip injuries.
Willis Marshall, Pearson’s PR manager told the Star: “Michael has improved. He’s off the ventilator, although he still has a tube in to remove the blood from his internal bleeding.”
Speaking of the severity of Michael’s injuries: “He had a ruptured artery; he was bleeding to death.
“He also has a back injury, although we are not entirely sure of the extent, but he was able to move his feet and hands.
“He’s talking and remembers everything from the race, which is a good sign. He also has a pelvic injury and will possibly have an operation this weekend.
“At this stage, however, we would expect him to make a full recovery.”
Willis said Pearson has yet to speak about whether he will race again.
“That hasn’t been discussed at this stage, but I would imagine he would think he would never want to go through that again. The priority at this stage it to get better and get home.”
The accident occurred the same weekend that English rider Simon Andrews crashed at the North West 200 and later died in hospital.
Willis said his and Michael’s family’s thoughts and prayers were with the Andrews family.
It is thought that Pearson could remain in hospital for at least a couple of weeks.
“It will depend on how soon he can get onto his feet,” Willis said. “He has to have a CT scan on the base of his spine. The next 24 to 48 hours are critical.”
He added; “We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who have contacted us with wellwishes, from Australia, everywhere.
“Michael had just won the 600 race before that race and he was on a high. It was the last race of the day, but results don’t matter now.
“I can’t thank the organisers and medical staff enough for what they’ve done to make life more comfortable for Michael, his wife Diane and his parents, they have gone beyond the norm to help. It took six minutes for the helicopter to arrive to airlift Michael to hospital, they’ve been incredible.”
Willis concluded: “Michael’s wife Diane, his mother and father, Team members, and friends, would like to express their sincere thanks for the many many messages of support in what has been a very difficult time.
“In particular they would like to thank the medical personnel, air ambulance, and hospital staff for the excellent and attentive attention they have, and continue to give Michael.”