Soler leaves hospital, returns home
14 October 2011

Four months after his accident, the Movistar Team rider goes back to his house in Pamplona, where he's expected to undergo a long rehab prior to returning to Colombia in dates still unknown Good news keep happening into the long recovery in which Mauricio Soler is immerse since he got into a tremendous crash during the Tour de Suisse on June 16th. The Colombian rider from Movistar Team has left the Clinica Universitaria de Navarra on Friday -still not discharged and free to do normal physical activity-, Soler being admitted on July 9th after spending his first two weeks of intensive care in the Swiss Hospital St. Gallen.

After various satisfactory operations during the last days, Soler’s recovery, still to undergo a long, hard way, is on the right path that has already allowed to go back home in Pamplona, where he will stay for an undetermined period while he cointinues doing rehab in the hospital. The Colombian rider has recovered more than 20 kg lost after the accident and shows happy about his progression: “I feel improved any single day, though it’s true that some days I seem like steeping back, and that always discourages you. For example, I’m concerned I get tired too soon when walking”. “He gets tired because his self-exigence level is too high,” notes Patricia, his inseparable wife, staying with him during the recovery process. “Doctors tell us this spirit of a cyclist is also doing well for his recovery.” Soler confirms it: “I’m putting all my energies on this, but it has to be this way, I don’t see any other one.”

The Colombian and his environment are now focused on his physical recovery, leaving a possible return to competition aside. “We have to be patient, only time will tell about that. It would be fantastic to return riding, but now I’m most interested on my own recovery.” Movistar Team doctor Alfredo Zuñiga shared that opinion: “What we’re concerned about now is the personal side, not the sporting one. For him, returning to riding his bike is a motivation, but it’s still too soon to know whether it’ll be possible or not. That’s something nobody can assure. For the time being, his progress is still favourable and on the right way, but the rehab has still many months left. The best thing is that all steps are taken forward, and his progression since he came to Pamplona has been surprisingly good.”

A day in Mauricio’s life
Hours before he leaves the hospital, we make a review with Mauricio and Patricia of what has been a day-by-day routine for Soler during the last weeks in the Navarran hospital, the couple in praise for the attentions given by the team directed by doctor Murie. “Mauricio wakes up early,” tells Patricia, “at 6 am, and from 7 on we get started and I help him taking on his clothes. He’s more and more autonomous now and can brush his teeth and shave his face with no help required. He has breakfast at 9, and soon the therapist comes to take him into a first rehab session on the bed and walking around the hospital’s corridors.” “When I come back, and depending on my mood, I read the newspapers or surf the net to follow all the news, especially the ones from Colombia,” explains Mauricio, “before lunch is served at 1 PM”. At 14h, it’s time for the speech therapist, and at 3 o’clock, the second rehab sessino starts: “We do gym works three days per week, and swimming pool for the other two,” says Soler. “There, we get all body parts working and also walk when we’re not into water.” After that, an evening snack, a visit to the chapel, some walk around the park to breathe fresh air from time to time and, at night, what really gives them energy day by day: a Skype connection with the young Juan Mauricio, nicknamed Cachetes, whose picture prevails on his father’s chamber at the hospital, and who sees his admirable progresses with only 14 months of age.

A routine which is set to be interrupted from now on, Soler still having to go from home in Pamplona to the medical center to continue with his rehab for several more weeks because continuing with the process in a clinic in Bogotá, the paperwork already started to take him to Colombia, in dated still not confirmed in the coming months.

Last but not least, the Solers want to thank for all wholehearted support received from all parts of the world. “I thank everyone who send us messages,” says Mauricio. “Don’t think they don’t arrive here, because they really do, and help me a lot to go forward.” His wife emphasizes that attitude: “Ever since he was at the hospital in Switzerland, we got so much help. I remember a nurse coming one day with a big tower of letters from Belgium, the Netherlands, the United States, of course from Colombia too… and they didn’t stop coming. We will always save those letters with us, because they gave us big motivation for such hard moments. The same counts for all visits from teammates, from riders from other squads… all of them were really close to him. All that happened to us has been very sad, but beautiful at the same time, because we could feel support from so much people.”