James Ellington: Sprinter still in pain after crash

By Miriam Walker-KhanBBC Sport
James Ellington: GB sprinter's horrific crash - in his own words, 10 months ago

British sprinter James Ellington says he still experiences "a lot of pain", 10 months after the motorbike accident that nearly killed him.

Ellington suffered a fractured tibia, fibula and pelvis when he and training partner Nigel Levine were hit by a car in Tenerife in January.

He has since undergone three surgeries and spent time in a wheelchair.

"It's physically and mentally tough, because I'm used to being so active," the 32-year-old told BBC Sport.

"But I'm definitely going in the right direction. I'm not going to be satisfied until I know I'm a competing athlete again."

'I've had stages where I've plateaued'

Ellington cannot yet put enough pressure on his damaged leg in order to run as the bones are still not fused, but he is hopeful of being pain-free next month.

The Croydon Harrier became the first professional athlete to have a carbon-fibre rod - fixed with screws at the top and bottom of his shin - inserted in his leg.

The rod is strong, but not as stiff as most traditional metal implants, so it works more like a natural bone and is expected to speed up recovery.

GB sprinter James Ellington
Ellington has a 14-and-a-half-inch carbon fibre rod in his leg, which doctors hope will speed up the healing process

"Rehab is going as well as it could be, but I've had little stages where I've plateaued," said Ellington, who also has a metal plate in his pelvis that pulled it back together when it fractured.

"I'm out of the pool now. I've speeded things up and I'm trying to put a bit more force through my damaged leg.

"My doctors are treating it like a general rehab for someone in an accident like mine and focusing on getting me to function properly, but their mind-set is also slowly switching over to the performance side of things."


'Watching the guys win was tough'

In 2016 Ellington was second in the 100m at the British Championships with a wind-assisted time of 9.96 seconds and was also part of the 4x100m relay team that finished fifth in the Olympic final.

However, his injuries deprived him of the chance to compete at the World Championships in London in August, where his former team-mates won the 4x100m relay.

"One minute I'm celebrating, the next I'm thinking 'damn... that could have been me'. It was bittersweet because it's something I've been working for my whole life," said Ellington.

"I want to be back on the track next year, training and maybe competing. Knowing my potential is the only thing getting me through.

"I definitely won't be going on a motorbike again."