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iedereen op de fiets
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A loving squeeze from comatose Dalton cyclist

By KAREN ROSEN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/12/06


Dalton cyclist Saul Raisin responded to questions by squeezing his parents' hands Tuesday at a hospital in Angers, France, marking the first sign of encouragement after he went into a coma following his April 4 crash.

"Today he had a real good day," Johnny Raisin, Saul's uncle, said from his office at Dalton Textiles. "Everybody's excited about it. We just hope he keeps improving. But [doctors] said it might not be a good day every day."

Details of Saul Raisin's crash are unclear, and the Dalton native remains hospitalized in France.

Raisin's doctors told his parents, Jim and Yvonne, that he was about two weeks ahead of schedule in coming out of his coma. Although earlier reports said Raisin was placed in a medically induced coma, family friend Shane Adams said Raisin's parents told him that trauma caused the coma, but doctors induced paralysis and placed the cyclist on a ventilator "so all his energy would go into healing."

Adams also said the doctors feared possible paralysis on Raisin's left side, but he was moving all of his fingers and toes.

"When he was a little kid," Adams said, "his mom and dad taught him three squeezes on his hands means, 'I love you,' and he keeps doing that to Jim and Yvonne. If anybody's going to pull through, it's Saul. He's a fighter, a kid with character and a huge will to survive and succeed to the fullest."

Raisin, 23, a rising star in American cycling who rides for the French-based Credit Agricole team, crashed about 1.2 miles from the finish line in the opening stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Although he had facial injuries and broke his collarbone and a rib, Raisin was conscious that afternoon and talking. His situation became life-threatening when he his brain hemorrhaged early the next morning. Doctors performed surgery to reduce pressure on Raisin's brain.

Raisin's parents rushed to his bedside. Back home in their Dalton neighborhood, residents put green and white ribbons — the Credit Agricole colors — on their mailboxes.

Mary Helen Forshee, who considers herself Raisin's "adopted grandmother," said she spoke to Yvonne Raisin on Tuesday morning, and "she thought she might be able to eat a little bit now. She hasn't been able to eat or sleep."

"We're going to keep praying," said Forshee, of Rocky Face, Ga., "because we think the prayers are working."

Raisin's family and the cycling team doctors have vigorously denied reports that an epileptic seizure caused the accident.

No one knows why he crashed, however, landing on his forehead and shattering his helmet. Team manager Roger Legeay told VeloNews that Raisin "couldn't remember how he crashed. Maybe he hit a tire or something in the road. There are crashes every day in cycling, and it was unlucky to fall like this."

In May, Raisin was hit from behind by a motorcycle in the race caravan and broke his hip, some ribs and his collarbone. He healed quickly and was ninth in the Tour of Germany.

Known as a strong climber — thanks to his training in the north Georgia mountains — Raisin was gearing up for the Giro d'Italia and next year's Tour de France. He turned pro in 2003 and was named Best Young Rider at the Tour de Georgia. Dalton held "Saul Raisin Day" last year when the race came through.

Credit Agricole was not entered in next week's Ford Tour de Georgia because it is concentrating on European races.

Micah Rice, general manager of the Athens-based Jittery Joe's team, said he remembers Raisin from five or six years ago, "When he was just a guy from Georgia trying to bum rides off of us to go to races. Now he's a super strong rider, one of the young riders who really made it to the big leagues."

For updates on Raisin's condition go to www.nwgasorba.org/chewdafat/index.php
 

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My heart aches for Saul and his family.

As cruel as his circumstances are, the three-squeeze message may be the best thing I've read about all day. Pull through, kid.

Thanks for posting.
 

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This is really great news. Last week, the prognosis seemed dire, but now, it seems that Saul is making his comeback. I really hope he continues to improve. It might be a long shot, but I hope we see him race again!!!
 

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iedereen op de fiets
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My mom is good friends with Saul's aunt, so I will try to keep everyone up to date when I get info.
 

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Raisin regains consciousness

I just saw this on www.cyclingnews.com....

The prognosis for injured US rider Saul Raisin is continuing to improve after the 23 year-old came out of his coma on Wednesday. Family friend Shane Adams has been providing internet and email updates to many concerned fans and friends of Raisin, and was upbeat about the latest developments.

"The speed of Saul's recovery continues to astound his doctors," said Adams. "He is becoming more and more aware of his surroundings, waving at people entering and leaving the room. His uncle Phil is there [in Europe] now and Saul waved as he left the room this morning."

Adams has been in regular contact with the family and he reports that doctors at the hospital in Angers are hoping to take Raisin off the ventilator on Thursday. He had been put on one a week ago in order to take pressure off his body, and improve his chances of recovering from the haemorrhage he suffered.

Once Raisin is off the ventilator, the doctors will make the next move in his rehabilitation, assessing him to see what damage may have been done due to the after-effects of his crash on stage one of the Circuit de la Sarthe. The hospital had thought there was a risk of paralysis but that now does not appear to be the case. However, it is important to determine if any other damage has been suffered.
 

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When these tragic accidents happen:

- I hope he makes it
- I hope he has a full recovery and lives a normal life
- I hope he races again at the same level.

A man's passion is his life. One down, two steps to go. Keep us posted.

francois
 

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Update from website

Just checked his website and he should be out of intesive care in a few days, then transferred to a hospital in GA in the coming weeks. Good news for sure!
 
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