[SA] Some good news on Mat Rex



Never say die

March 31, 2007 12:15am

DON'T tell Matt Rex something is impossible.
Twelve weeks ago he was in hospital in a coma and his family was called to
say goodbye after a horrific hit-and-run accident almost claimed his life.

This week the champion cyclist was walking and looking forward to walking
out of the rehabilitation centre next week - something doctors feared might
not happen.

"They were really worried at one point I wasn't going to walk again ... I've
out done their expectations already," he told The Advertiser yesterday.

After celebrating his birthday at Normanville on February 10 with fellow
rider Chris Jongewaard, Matt was riding next morning when he was allegedly
hit by Jongewaard, who was driving his car along Main South Rd with a .094
blood alcohol reading.

Jongewaard faces a string of charges and is on bail.

The crash left Matt with head injuries, a severely broken and damaged right
leg and injuries to his right-side buttocks, hamstring, leg, knee, toes and
right arm.

He was put in an induced coma at Flinders Medical Centre for 12 days, had
several operations and lost 16kgs before moving to rehabilitation.

He describes photo's taken during that time - particularly one of family and
friends around his bed as he lay in a coma on Valentine's Day - as

While Matt says the road ahead is "a bit unclear" and he takes each day as
it comes, the elite athlete - whose peak fitness probably saved his life -
is determined to ride competitively again.

"One of the first things he said when he woke up was to ask his mother Helen
'where's my bike'," said manager and family friend Max Stevens.

Matt's days now centre on gym and physio sessions in place of riding 900kms
a week and training 30-40 hours.

Day releases from the rehabilitation centre see him return to his eastern
suburbs home with mother Helen, brother Sam, 19, and his bike.

"This time last year I was in Europe racing," Matt said. " ... but if you
focus on the negatives, you're in trouble."

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