Paul Langlands has just completed a stellar year of competition. It was a year in which he further placed his name as a consistent contender for the podium in any international contest. He won every comp he entered in his home country of New Zealand alongside wins, podiums and top 10s in comps across the USA, Australia, UK and France. But, recently things took a turn for the worst. We caught up with Paul at a rehabilitation clinic in Auckland, NZ where he is being held to recover from a serious head injury.
MM: Paul, take us through how you ended up in here.
I was down in Queenstown, doing a bunch of riding and just hanging out. That day I was helping a mate out to film an edit promoting the city as a riding destination. I was hitting a jump which didn’t have a lot of pop and I under-rotated a flip whip. Apparently I landed on my front wheel, my feet came off and my foot went in between the tire and the forks. Basically foot-jamming me over the bars and onto my head. I can’t remember the next few days, but they told me I was unconscious for a long time. I was taken to Queenstown hospital and then helicoptered to Dunedin hospital where I spent about a week. Then I got transferred to a hospital up closer to home for a few days and now I’m here.
MM: What are the Doctor’s saying now?
I have bad bruising on my brain and I will need to be taking it easy for a while.
MM: For those who don’t know the extent of a brain bruise, how does it affect you?
Well for me it’s two weeks on, I still have no balance. Everything I do is slow, I talk slow, walk about the third of normal pace, it’s just all delayed brain and body reactions. My brain just isn’t working right. If I try to walk straight and look to the left I start veering right. It is a lot of effort to figure out how to open things and not bump into furniture. I’m very tired and can’t concentrate for long. It sucks.
MM: What is the time frame for recovery from and injury like this?
It’s hard to say at this stage. I have been told I will be able to do some things within weeks, other things in months and even years for some other things. I’m doing everything I can to be better and the Doc says I am further ahead than someone normally in my shoes. But, I have a long way to go.
Do you have a plan of recovery?
The main goal for me right now is to get out of here and get home. I have to pass a bunch of tests to show my brain is good enough to be able to recover safely at home. Just stuff like remembering to turn elements off, not running into people with my trolley at the supermarket, being able to form opinions and tell them to a group. I have good plans for my downtime which are keeping me going. Building new jumps in the yard, some trails with the boys and organizing a big event I have planned for early next year.
Anything else you would like to tell your supporters?
I’ll be back, I just want to ride my bike and I’ll do whatever it takes to get back on. But, while I’m getting better just go easy on me and be patient haha, I won’t be able to do most of the things I normally do for a while.
[At :49 you see Paul do a flip whip, it was the very next jump, same trick that stung him.]
Thanks Paul, we wish you the best with the recovery and keep us updated.