Down but Not Out, James Newbury Recovering from Accident

October 27, 2019 by
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Fans of James Newbury held their collective breaths this weekend as the 5th fittest man from 2019 made a frightening revelation on his Instagram yesterday. The lengthy post – which included a photo of Newbury in the hospital and comes just days after he performed 20.3 during the live announcement – revealed that he spent his 29th birthday laid up in the hospital following a mountain bike accident. 

What happened: While coming around a corner on his mountain bike, Newbury’s front tire slid out on some loose rocks, causing him to fly over his handlebars as he locked out his brakes. Newbury’s head hit the base of a tree and the middle of his back hitting a protruding branch. 

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Not the most ideal place to spend your 29th. I’ve been holding out the last couple days mentioning anything but figured I might as well “break” the news and I’ll preface it with “I am fine” ? Over the weekend I had a freak accident coming off a mountain Bike awkwardly head first into a tree, yes not the fastest way down the mountain that’s for sure. I’ve come away lucky with only a handful of breaks through T-Spine 2 & 3 processes and 7+8th rib. I also coped a gash in the left lung leaving it a little worse for wear leaking some air. This is NOT he end of the world nor is it the end of my season, it’s just a minor inconvenience that will need some attention. The doctor said “If you are going to break you back you’ve done it the best way possible for a speedy recovery” so this gives me confidence. How it happened I’m sure is the big question and the basic answer is I just fell awkwardly. I came around a corner not at a crazy speed and washed out the front wheel on some loose rocks, locked onto the breaks and went over the handle bars hitting the base of the tree with my head. Then I flipped and my mid back jarred a protruding branch. Luckily I was wearing a darn good helmet because the docs said it 100% saved me. Now I know I’ll get asked why did I put myself if a situation where I could get hurt with the season upon us? My answer is I don’t regret anything. If I wrap myself in cotton wool and deprive myself of things I enjoy then none of it is worth it for me. I need to be happy and I need to be sharing exciting experiences with loved ones for me to stay focused in other areas of my life and that’s exactly what I was doing. This is life! I’ll now be “working IN” as much as possible to allow the bones to heal well so I can get back to another thing I love which is training and competing (yes for the 2020 season). Thanks to my mates for helping me get back down the mountain and the docs and nurses for looking after me (even when you make me use the slide board to change beds ?) and @kaylabanfield for sticking by my bed the last days! I’ll keep you guys updated PS I will NOT be redoing 20.3 #shellberight

A post shared by James Newbury • Adelaide (@jamesnewbury) on

The bad news: Newbury’s Open is over as he’ll be spending the next couple months resting and recovering from the list of injuries sustained during the accident. 

  • Fractured processes, boney pieces protruding from the vertebra, in his 2nd and 3rd thoracic vertebrae. Recovery is typically 4-6 weeks with a gradual return to activity over a few week period.
  • Fractures in his 7th and 8th rib, recovery is typically 6 weeks.
  • A gash in his left lung, that caused a leak in the lung. Recovery usually takes 6-8 weeks depending on severity. 

The good news: He was wearing a helmet and will make a full recovery, which is most important. HIs recovery timeline also means that his 2020 Games season isn’t over yet. 

  • Newbury’s doctors: “If you are going to break your back you’ve done it the best way possible for a speedy recovery.”
  • Newbury on coming back this year: “This is NOT the end of the world nor is it the end of my season……I’ll now be “working IN” as much as possible to allow the bones to heal well so I can get back to another thing I love which is training and competing (yes for the 2020 season).”

One might ask why, in the middle of a season, would a professional athlete of Newbury’s caliber coming off a career season partake in an activity such as mountain biking that carries this type of risk. Newbury addressed the issue and made his outlook on the topic very clear.

“If I wrap myself in cotton wool and deprive myself of things I enjoy then none of it is worth it for me. I need to be happy and I need to be sharing exciting experiences with loved ones for me to stay focused in other areas of my life and that’s exactly what I was doing.”

Rest up James, wishing you a speedy and smooth recovery.

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