Australian Olympic champion Brooke Hanson suffers a traumatic spinal injury in a freak surfing accident
Australian Olympic champion Brooke Hanson has suffered multiple fractures to her spine after a horrific surfing accident.
The 45-year-old didn’t go into the exact details of what happened but did post a picture of herself in a neck brace and thanked those who helped her.
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In the long post, the former world record holder announced that she will make a full recovery despite fractures in the C3 and C4 vertebrae and an anterior ligament tear at C3 and C4.
“A big heartfelt thank you to these incredible people who were there first after my surfing incident,” she wrote on Instagram.
“I felt pretty special knowing I had my husband Jared, himself a firefighter and surfing lifesaver, and all these amazing professionals who were off duty and on vacation like us coming to my rescue.
“A trauma surgeon, lifeguard, fireman, retired paramedic, 2 surf lifeguards, a carpenter, our fellow Currumbin Vikings and the trailer park managers and staff.” This team treated me as a spinal patient and took me from the beach to the street & waited with me until the paramedics took over & as a team they got me off the surfboard and into the ambulance.
“Many of you are strangers who I will never thank personally, but I am forever grateful.” Thank you to the Coffs Harbor paramedic team, the doctors and emergency room nurses at Coffs Harbor Hospital, everyone who reached out to me when I had an emergency have short stay, as well as all the specialists who tested and scanned my spine, neck and head.
“Also to the neurosurgeons at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle for their expert advice. “I am grateful to be able to leave the hospital knowing I have the opportunity to make a full recovery despite microfractures at C3 & C4 and an anterior ligament tear at C3 & C4. “Thank you to my beautiful family and my Salt of the Earth friends for your love and support!
“Now is the time to rest and heal.”
Hanson followed the post with a comment thanking her followers for their support.
“Thank you everyone for your lovely messages and to those who have texted and called – the love and support I receive gives me more strength and brings joy to my soul,” she wrote.
Hanson made her international debut at age 16 as the youngest member of the 1994 Commonwealth Games swimming team, finishing fourth in the 200m breaststroke.
She missed the 1996 Olympic team by just 0.11 seconds and failed to qualify for the 2000 Sydney games. At the age of 26, she triumphed over adversity to win a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke and gold in the team medley relay at the Athens Olympics.
Many more international successes came until Hanson was electrocuted and forced to retire from swimming.
Hanson lives on the Gold Coast with husband Jared and children Cooper, 12, Billy, 8, and Matilda, 6.