7 Days of Dakar: Day 5

If you thought yesterday’s story about Malle Moto rider, Lyndon Poskitt recovering from cardiac arrest to ride to and then compete in the 2018 Dakar Rally was incredible, wait until you see this one. Nicola Dutto was a promising rally motorbike rider who suffered a terrible crash in 2010 that broke almost every bone in his spinal column and left him paralyzed from the chest down. Nicola himself admitted that after an injury like this, he never imagined he’d get back on a motorbike again. However, that’s exactly what he’s going to be doing in 4 days when the starts the 2019 Dakar on a specially designed bike. You’ll notice in the video that a lot of time is spent talking about his seat cushion. Of course, as he is sponsored by a company that makes cushions for wheelchairs, this is only to be expected. However, in addition to all of the conventional Dakar risks that Nicola will face along with the other competitors, there is another very dangerous threat to him specifically that will be lurking in the shadows. Because of his condition, he is unable to shift his weight or feel much sensations below his waist. All paraplegics risk skin breakdown for this reason, but when the long hours of constant abuse on the bike saddle along with the heat, humidity, and dust of the rally is taken into account, Nicola will be especially at risk. I won’t post it in this blog, but if you have a strong stomach and want to understand how bad things can get, Google image search “parapalegic pressure ulcers”. I’ll warn you, it’s not for the faint of heart. For Nicola, what can begin as a small rash at the beginning of a Dakar stage can become a gaping wound within days. If that wound gets infected, which would be highly likely, it could lead to sepsis that could kill him within 24 to 48 hours if not caught in time. His specially designed seat should help prevent such a situation from developing. When all of this is considered, it makes Nicola’s story simply mind-blowing. I love how many incredible stories of personal strength the Dakar Rally brings out each year, but this one might just be the most incredible I’ve heard yet. You can find updates on Nicola’s adventure here. I plan on following his progress over the next two weeks and I hope you do too! Check out this video below to hear the full story.