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Shocking crashes

The scene of David Baker’s accident. PHOTO/FILE

Remarkable recoveries for duo
Brush with truck can’t dim Baker’s fire

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Masterton cyclists David Baker and Rex Dowding have defied the odds to make remarkable recoveries from devastating accidents – one involving a collision with a truck.

Rex Dowding at his Solway home with his green machine. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

Dowding, 74, ran over a dog weaving in front of his bike last Saturday morning and flew over the handlebars. After surgery, during which pins and titanium were inserted in his hip and femur, he has returned home and is now using a walker.

When he was lying on Boundary Rd the first thought he had was that he was going to miss the first Athletics and Cycling Masterton time trial this coming Tuesday.

“I’d been training pretty hard and the season is just starting so I was pretty annoyed because I was really looking forward to it,” Dowding said.

Dowding’s passion was harriers and athletics and he is a lifetime member of the Masterton club. But when he had his left hip replaced, he needed to find another sport and cycling was it. A fortunate aspect of the accident is that the repaired hip wasn’t smashed because if it had been doctors told him the titanium rod would most likely have smashed his femur in two.

“I ride my green machine a lot and during covid-19, although us over-70s were told to stay home, I snuck out more and more to keep my fitness up,” Dowding said.

Doctors have said to him that his high level of fitness and lean physique was a reason he was “bouncing back so well”.

He was now walking with a frame but had been told he can only put weight on his right side that would not break an egg if he stepped on it. He is aiming to get back on his stationary bike soon and back on the road cycling this summer.

But founder of BakerAg, 78-year-old David Baker is not home yet after his bike accident more than three months ago. Baker suffered a fractured skull and broke all his ribs on one side when he came off his bike after clashing with a water tanker when riding down Ngaumutawa Rd on June 24.

David Baker recovering at Kenepuru Hospital. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

He went straight to Wellington Hospital Intensive Care Unit for treatment and stayed there for three weeks before being moved to Kenepuru Hospital’s Brain Injury Unit. He has titanium plates holding his ribs together but said his brain was doing well – he feels back to normal.

“I now know that all my family came to Wellington to visit because clearly they thought I was going to die, but doctors are saying I am having a miraculous recovery,” Baker said. “I can’t remember anything of those first three weeks to be honest, but I feel good now and want to go home.”

He and his family had a meeting with Kenepuru Hospital specialists on Friday to decide whether Baker could go home. He is not likely to be in the clear until October 23.

“My shoulder is dislocated, and the surgeons are weighing up whether to operate,” Baker said. “But my head injury is cleared.”

Baker also got his fitness up during covid-19 lockdown and was cycling 10 kilometres a day. He has previously been a member of a local team that did the Round Lake Taupo Race and cycled 41km in that.

He was keen to get back to his clients, get reapproved as a Justice of the Peace who can sit in court hearings [he has to wait six months after a brain injury] and get home.

“I’m proud of what I have recovered from and the staff here at Kenepuru are incredible,” the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit said.

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