MATHEW MBUNDIREMay 15, 2017
DEWI WILLIAMSMay 15, 2017
I have been riding off road motorcycles since the age of four, including motocross and endurance races. When I turned 18 I was working at TT motorcycles in Harare. They told me that they were going to bring in a new type of bike called a Megelli 250r, and they said that they wanted to start road racing again in Zimbabwe. I had always liked riding around the karting track on scooters, which made me wonder if I would be any good at road racing. They had brought in 2 bikes to test. I tried them out and really enjoyed it so I bought one.
After about seven weeks the bikes arrived. I took mine home in the crate and assembled it. I had been given some race kit from friends in South Africa, and another friend gave me some road racing boots. My Grandad went to SA and got me some gloves, so now I was all kitted out for racing. We went to Donnybrook practicing about twice a month, and my lap times started to get faster and faster.
That year ended and another year started, the first year of Megelli racing 2011.
I started racing and I wasn’t too bad and as the year went on, I started getting better and began winning races. I managed to get enough points to win the national championship. The following year I had made other plans to go and work on yachts in the Mediterranean. I went on an aluminium welding course at TIG Welders Harare.
At the last race of the season in Bulawayo my main competitor’s bike had broken so I had no pressure, but then on the second lap of the race another competitor and I bumped which ended in me going off the track and colliding with a tree at approximately 130kph. This severe impact broke my back in 2 places and I had a brain injury. I was rushed to hospital in Bulawayo, where I spent 5 days in an induced coma.
I was airlifted back to Harare because I had a brain injury. When I was back I was seen by a neuro surgeon by the name of Professor Kalangu, who decided that I needed to be operated on. They operated on my brain putting a shunt from my brain to my heart, classing my injury at a level 4. After the operation I spent a further 5 weeks in an induced coma.
Luckily for me the surgeon had just got a new machine that reads brain pressure so it was no longer a guessing game. My brain pressure returned to a safe level and he brought me out of the induced coma. By this time I had lost 25kgs. When I woke up I started my rehabilitation in the hospital learning to walk again. I cannot remember anything from hospital. I can’t even remember driving to Bulawayo before the race. I guess that’s the body’s own way of protecting itself.
When I got home from hospital I started doing 5 therapies per week that included physiotherapy with Didier Smeets which just involved the stretching of all my muscles, light/colour therapy at Professor Kalangu’s rooms which made me get car sick on the drive home. Where I did my welding coarse, TIG welding, Paul Sparks is a scuba diver.
A hyperbaric decompression chamber is designed to deal with people with the bends but it also helps people with traumatic brain injuries, so I was very lucky to be able to have this therapy. I did over 120 hours in the chamber. I also had deep tissue massage with a lady called Jacquie Simpson. It was really painful at first because all my muscles had stuck together and needed to be separated. But it really helped me walk properly again. And that’s where I finished my rehabilitation.
I am really truly grateful to all the people who have helped me get to where I am today 4 years later, and I can now live a normal life, and be back on the racetrack.