‘Incredible fighter’ Andre Simon showing signs of consciousness

National cyclist Andre Simon was said to be in peak fitness when struck by a motorist on May 8 (Facebook photo)
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By Gemma Handy

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Badly injured national cyclist Andre Simon is showing small signs of consciousness in the US hospital where he is being treated following May’s horrific road accident.

The 36-year-old is said to be responding to questions using head movements, according to the latest update on his condition from relatives.

He recently received a visit from his young son Antwone who was flown to the US and attended a therapy session with his father.

The sportsman and meteorological officer was airlifted to the TIRR Memorial Hospital in Texas on July 2, two months after he and three other cyclists were struck by a motorist during a training ride on Sir George Walter Highway.

While the other three were treated for minor injuries and later discharged from hospital, Simon was left in a critical condition landing him in the intensive care unit at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre.

He was eventually flown overseas following a mammoth fundraising effort that remains underway.

On Saturday, his sister Beatrice Simon described her brother as an “incredible fighter”. Writing on social media, she detailed questions posed to Andre by his therapist.

When asked if he had multiple children, Andre is said to have indicated no by moving his head, and responded in the affirmative when asked if he had a son. When the therapist asked if his son’s name was Anthony, he correctly responded no, before indicating yes when the name Antwone was put to him.

In another encouraging sign, Andre is said to be breathing through his nose and mouth after a cap was placed on the tracheostomy which had been helping him to breathe.

Such caps cover the opening of the tube, blocking air from entering and forcing the patient to breathe on their own. This is often the last step before ‘decannulation’ – removing the tube entirely.

  “This is a very positive step,” the Facebook post said. “His oxygen levels are now being constantly monitored during this transition. The goal is to work on removing the trach.

“Consciousness is measured on a spectrum. We hope that Andre makes giant strides towards more consciousness.”

Meanwhile, a pressure sore that built up on Andre’s posterior continues to cause problems, the post explained. The wound is “healing very slowly”, placing “a lot of strain on his body”.

“Your prayers are genuinely desired,” the post added.

Earlier this month, the family reported that the cyclist had been placed in a special bed to help the wound heal and minimise the need for turning.

There had also been suggestions that Andre would need to be transferred to another specialist facility to treat the pressure sore, creating additional expense for the family. His brother Dwayne Simon told Observer yesterday that medics now believed keeping him at TIRR Memorial would be more beneficial.

An online GoFundMe appeal to raise money for Andre’s care has now collected almost US$63,000. The page can be found at https://gofund.me/49f11497.

There have also been several fundraisers staged and generous residents have been donating via dedicated accounts set up at banks including Caribbean Union Bank, Community First Credit Union, ECAB and ACB.

Ten days after the accident, motorist Kenyatta Benjamin, 39, of Hatton, was charged with dangerous driving. He was bailed and is due back before court this Thursday.

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