Bobsleigh athlete fractures her spine

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British bobsleigher Serita Shone has suffered a fractured spine in a training crash in Germany in which her Sheffield team-mate suffered head injuries.

British Bobsleigh performance director Gary Anderson said 22-year-old Miss Shone, a Leeds Metropolitan University graduate, underwent surgery and was airlifted to a specialist spinal unit where she is due for further surgery in the next few days.

She is in a stable condition and her family have been informed.

Her team-mate Fiona Harrison, who trains at the English Institute of Sport, in Sheffield, suffered a head injury and remains under observation. It is thought she may be released later today.

Mr Anderson said the pair were injured during a training run for the British Championships, the opener to this year’s competition season.

The pair were training in Winterburg where the competition heats will begin today.

Mr Anderson added “All the staff are working around the clock to ensure the athletes receive the best possible care. Our thanks goes to the surgeons, doctors and nurses of the two hospitals the athletes are currently in and we wish both our athletes a full and speedy recovery.”

Miss Shone, a sports nutritionist, from Weymouth, in Dorset, joined the bobsleigh team last month after switching from athletics where she had competed for Britain as a heptathlete.

She is the team’s brakewoman, who sits at the back of the bob, slowing it down at stages throughout the race and who provides the initial impetus at the start before climbing in.

Miss Harrison, 29, a graduate of Leeds University who is originally from Barnsley, is also a former GB heptathlete who has competed in bobsleigh for two years. She is a driver for the team.

On Twitter this week, Miss Shone posted messages of the fun she was having during training.

“Day two of sliding,” she said on Tuesday. “Great confidence day and some great skills being developed... few crashes but still alive!”