Poland's WIERZBOWSKA credits rowing for quick comeback after being hit by bus
GLASGOW - Poland's Anna WIERZBOWSKA reckons she has the rowing community to thank for her amazingly quick return to the sport after being hit by a bus travelling at 140kmh.
Her ankle was shattered and a shoulder fractured in August last year when she was cycling with her rower sister Maria just a month before the 2017 world championships.
The siblings had reached the halfway point of a two-hour ride and were turning to go home.
"The funny thing is there was nobody else in the road, two kilometres straight visibility," WIERZBOWSKA said. "Maria gave a signal and she turned. All I heard was the bus coming.
"From what I was told, I was on his front windshield and carried for around 30 metres."
The hospital she was taken to did not have all the equipment needed for the surgery to reconstruct WIERZBOWSKA's left ankle, so she spent nine days in bed with 9kg of weight attached to her leg as traction.
After her initial discharge from hospital, a fracture was also diagnosed in her shoulder, which also required reconstruction.
Despite doctors predicting it would take her six months to walk again, WIERZBOWSKA sat on a rowing machine five weeks after the accident, and eight weeks in she was walking. She was back at the Polish rowing training camp in December, and went cross-country skiing, despite her coach and sister rebuking her for overdoing it. By March, WIERZBOWSKA was back in a boat.
"My sister was the biggest support," WIERZBOWSKA said, "(and) I received so many messages and calls after the accident from people I didn't know. It was a powerball. I was so pumped. I wanted to prove that all that support wasn't for nothing."
WIERZBOWSKA had other challenges to overcome once she started rowing again. The sisters have always raced together, but for Glasgow 2018 Maria was selected in the women's four and Anna in the pair.
"I didn't want to think about rowing with anyone else," WIERZBOWSKA said. "At the beginning it was very difficult. The toughest part is that we understand each other without words.
"Over the past two months I have come to understand that I have to stand on my own. Here I'm rowing with a person [Monika SOBIESZEK] that I don't know yet. We have to get to know each other."
The rowing competition gets under way at 09:30 on Thursday 2 August at Strathclyde Country Park.
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