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Tour de Life: From Coma to Competitionby Saul Raisin
Synopses & Reviews
The story of a young bicycle racer who survived a horrifying crash in France in 2006, this true account is inspirational for cycling fans, those who have coped with brain and spinal cord injuries, and anyone who is uplifted by the heroic efforts of a come-back kid. Already a seasoned veteran of adversity, Saul Raisin struggled in his teens with severe kyphosis—exaggerated outward curvature of the spine—and went on to fight his way to the elite levels of professional cycling. After his 2006 accident, no one thought he would live, let alone race again. Detailing the course of his recovery, Saul focuses on his parents' frantic navigation of the French health-care system, the frightening challenges that confront the families of patients with brain injuries, and his own journey back from pain and despair.
"In 2006, 23-year-old Raisin was on his way to an impressive cycling career when a bad crash sent him into a coma, necessitating emergency brain surgery. Doctors told Raisin's frantic parents he probably wouldn't make it, and that if he did, he'd be confined to bed, 'or at best a wheelchair for the rest of his life.' What follows is Raisin's long, miraculous, tear-jerking fight back to the cycling arena. Hospitalized in France for 28 days, Raisin finally returns to America and his Georgia home to begin his recovery; one of the peculiarities of his brain injury is that even while actively recovering, his brain would not process the extent of his injuries: 'My wonderful life has somehow become scrambled beyond repair.' In an especially moving passage, Raisin discovers for the first time exactly what happened to him and the severity of his injuries by Googling his name. Determined to win back what he lost, Raisin sets his own stakes: 'They said I could never walk, so I say I will run. They said I could never ride a bike, so I say I'll compete in another race.' Stilted dialog, especially in the first half, tends to distract, as do occasional, unnecessary tangents (e.g., doping, Lance Armstrong), but not enough to keep this memorable story of personal and family crisis from engaging and inspiring." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Saul Raisin was one of America's rising cyclists until a serious accident in 2006 left him in a coma. His parents were told that because a piece of his brain had to be removed to save his life, he would be permanently paralyzed on his left side. Astoundingly, he has not only fought his way back to normal life—he has returned to Europe and plans to start racing again. He lives in Dalton, Georgia. Dave Shields is the author of The Pendulum's Path, The Race, and The Tour and is an avid endurance athlete who has won multiple long-distance races. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and numerous radio and television shows to provide cycling insight and expertise. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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