Veronica’s road to recovery
Four weeks after breaking her collarbone at the Tour de France, the American reflects on her recovery process
In the span of four weeks, Veronica Ewers’s world went from being flipped upside down to being right side up once more.
Veronica crashed while racing the Tour de France and left the race with a broken collarbone on the eve of the Tourmalet stage – the stage she had been preparing for since the off season. Her disappointment palpable, it felt like a disaster to the American at the time.
Days after the crash, Veronica underwent surgery and began the recovery process.
We spoke with Veronica to find out how she’s doing these days.
How is your collarbone recovering?
I am feeling pretty great. I’m really surprised at how quickly I was able to recover. My range of motion is almost back to normal with only slight discomfort. I’d say maybe the wound is still slightly tender to the touch but otherwise it’s amazing how quickly I have recovered. I would say the majority of the pain is actually from whiplash and that’s in my neck and in the muscle behind my scapula. It's pretty incredible that the collarbone itself is healing really well and is really not that painful. The surgeon has been really happy with how the wound has been healing. I will be getting a follow up x-ray in a week or so to see how the bone is healing and if it has healed fully so I will know more then but I anticipate it being ok.
What has this experience been like for you?
The biggest disappointment was not being able to race the Tourmalet. Just sort of grieving not having that opportunity because I’d worked so hard to do that stage and I literally just had to get through the previous stage when I crashed and so that was really not ideal.
With day to day tasks, it was a bit frustrating to handle at times. I didn’t realize how much I needed to use my [left] arm and just be able to move my neck freely. Even walking was a bit frustrating at times because the jarring was a bit uncomfortable. Day to day tasks, especially just having my hair sorted – I have a lot of it and so I usually have it up but of course it’s really hard-slash-impossible to put it up with one hand – so I was unable to do that and then just putting clothes on, especially putting a shirt on, was hard which meant I did wear a lot of button up shirts. It’s funny because I usually wear sports clothes or athleisure and I ended up having to wear nicer clothes for the sake of being able to put them on so people commented a lot on how nice I looked but it was just out of convenience.
"Asking for help is ok and you’re not a burden if you ask for help."
How have you dealt with these frustrations?
Coping with the frustrations, I knew that it would get better. Everyday the pain was less of an issue and the mobility was a bit better so that was really great but I’ve also had amazing people around me to help. AJ brought me to the hospital before the surgery and she carried my stuff with me and helped me check in and was just there for that right up until I went into surgery. Then when I got back in the room, Mags and Georgia were in the recovery room. That was just really amazing to have when I was a bit nervous going into my first surgery so that was really incredible. Mags brought me veggies and her homemade hummus which was amazing. A friend in town went above and beyond in helping me when I was in the hospital and then also after the fact. She helped me do my hair multiple times and braided it and checked in on me frequently. I’m very grateful for her and everybody that helped me.
Have you been able to take any positives from this experience?
I’ve felt completely taken care of and, honestly, I am so fortunate to have these people around me that are looking out for me even though it’s really hard for me to ask for help sometimes. I think that has honestly been the biggest thing that I’ve learned from this experience is that asking for help is ok and you’re not a burden if you ask for help. I just really am appreciative of all the people that sort of forced their help upon me [laughs] because of me being my stubborn self at times. That’s been my biggest learning experience from this.
I can now put my hair up myself and have been able to for a few weeks which is really cool and I can raise my hands in the air to celebrate [laughs] so I’m just really excited to have made it this far and I’m excited to get back out there.