On September 10, 2020, a rare and short year, with few races, with grand prizes without an audience, the driver Ana Carrasco (Cehegín, Murcia; 24 years old) suffered an accident at the Estoril circuit during some tests. “A silly fall when entering the gravel.” The dorsal vertebra was fractured. “The first thing that crossed my mind after the accident was if I could race in Barcelona, there was a week left. As they gave me information, I began to realize that I was not going to be able to run that or any other race ”, recalls now the pilot, the first champion of an FIM World Championship. It was in 2018, when he beat 40 other pilots, almost all men, in the SuperSport 300 category. Today, five months later, he is riding his Kawasaki Ninja 400 again. Today, a long scar, which he has no qualms about showing, walk up your spine to remind you how lucky you have been.
The medical report upon arrival at the Quirón Dexeus Hospital in Barcelona still produces chills: “Fracture of the thoracic spine, which (…) affects the entire vertebral body causing a loss of height of approximately 50%. Magnetic resonance imaging is performed to assess neurological involvement and a small displacement of two millimeters is detected at the T4 level that invades the bone canal, but without affecting the spinal cord ”. Dr. Maite Ubierna performed surgery to stabilize the fractures and allow early mobilization.
Carrasco, pure vitality and optimism, faced the recovery process from the beginning as one more task. Even if it wasn’t. She left the hospital with six kilos less when her usual weight is 57. And she hosted her parents at her home in Barcelona: “I couldn’t live alone. I needed help because I could do practically nothing. ” And they, delighted to take care of the little girl in the house, the toughest and most stubborn of the three brothers, the one who as a child slept with her motorcycle tucked into the room.
“I never doubted that I would run again. They told me that it would take between three and five months to begin to be well and lead a normal life; in the end, we have shortened the deadlines a lot ”. Five months have passed and a second operation to see her riding a motorcycle again.
He had suffered injuries before: elbow, clavicle, or shoulder. The latter, in 2015, ended up leaving her out of the Motorcycle World Championship, where she competed in the Moto3 category. “The doctor told me that it would take two years to recover. It was like telling me to forget about riding a motorcycle again ”. But Carrasco rarely gives his arm to twist: “If all the years that have gone badly I had thrown in the towel, I would never have been a world champion. In this sport we are used to hurting ourselves, but a back injury always scares a little more ”.
He has returned to training. And to smile open-mouthed. Like when a few weeks ago, after shooting a couple of days in a karting With a small motorcycle, he planted himself at the Montmeló circuit. “I had questions about how I could go with the Kawasaki, which is a much bigger bike and has more speed.” But it went very well. “I shot at the same times as a year ago. And the sensations were good. I continue to have pain and work with the physio, but I am fast, which is the important thing ”.
He got back on the bike this week in Navarra, although he is still in the process of rehabilitation. “I do a lot of swimming, I work on mobility, and I do strength exercises to strengthen my back and neck, which is what I wear the worst.”
With his sights set on the next SSP300 World Championship, Carrasco avoids looking back. “If you think a lot about the bad, the damage you could have done to yourself, in the end you stay there. The only way is to think about what to do to recover, be better and come back as soon as possible ”. You acknowledge that you have not talked to anyone about the risk you took. “Not even with my family. From the beginning I have understood this risk as part of my job, I have understood that I can hurt myself a lot and that a fall can have difficult consequences. But I was lucky ”.