Athlete Claire Danson pens emotional open letter after being left paralysed in a road accident

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British triathlete Claire Danson reveals she is paralysed in a powerful new Instagram post.

British triathlete and European Champion Claire Danson has revealed she was paralysed in an accident at the end of August, but says she is determined to continue competing in triathlons. 

British triathlete Claire Danson has proved her strength once more in a powerful new Instagram post.

The athlete, who claimed gold in the 30-34 age category at the end of the European Championships in June, wrote a powerful essay on her Instagram account revealing that she was left paralysed in August after a devastating road accident.

The post, which is accompanied with photos of the athlete throughout her hospitalisation, recovery and rehabilitation, details the accident which left her paralysed, and asks her followers to remember that she is still “the same person”, and that she endeavours to continue her sporting career.

“It has taken me a while to write this but now I am ready to share my story of the incident that has changed my life for ever; a story of going from European champion at triathlon to life in a wheelchair,” Danson writes.

She then goes on to detail the accident which caused her paralysis – a collision with a tractor while she was out riding her bike. The crash, which occurred on 28 August earlier this year, led the athlete to suffer two punctured lungs, a broken finger, two broken wrists, a broken humerus, two broken shoulders and breaks in both her neck and ribs, all of which has been addressed through surgery and will heal fully.

“Unfortunately, I also suffered a complete sever to my spinal cord at T9,” the post continues. “This means that I am paralysed from my belly button downwards. This is of course not something that will heal. Whilst I still have hard moments I have accepted the situation I am now in and won’t be letting it stop me do anything that I want to (including triathlon!)

“Now you have this info all I ask is for you to remember that I am still exactly the same person. I still have crazy hair and a mad laugh, I am still the clumsiest person you have met and I will still tell the most long winded yet entertaining stories. So please treat me as the same old Claire. Nothing has changed here.”

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Claire Danson, who has competed with the British triathlon team for a number of years, secured her first international medal at the European Championships in 2018.

And sporting success runs in the family: her sister, Alex Danson, represented Great Britain at the London and Rio Olympics in 2012 and 2016 as part of the women’s hockey team.

Taking to Instagram to share her sister’s accident, Alex Danson described the news as “the message I hope no one ever has to write.

“I have seen the girl I love turn into the girl I admire more than anyone in the world,” Danson wrote, after detailing the triathlete’s injuries. “In a blink of an eye her world has been turned upside down and her bravery, strength and that damn amazing smile are still there.”

She continued: “She’s the most resilient, hard working and inspiring person you will ever meet and having already over come many challenges in her life before, I know she will reign a champion of this one too.”

In response to the story, Alex Danson also asked fans of the family to follow Claire on Instagram and share their messages of support with the hashtag #DoItForDanson. 

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Images: Claire Danson on Instagram (@cdanson10)