Emily Watts is back on her bike and targeting 2020 Cycling Australia Road Nationals

PLENTY OF TRIALS: It has been a tough eight months for talented cyclist Emily Watts, but she has returned to racing after a horror crash. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
PLENTY OF TRIALS: It has been a tough eight months for talented cyclist Emily Watts, but she has returned to racing after a horror crash. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

BRAVERY comes in many forms, as does inspiration 

Emily Watts has gone from lying in a hospital bed with six fractured vertebrae, a broken collar bone and lip laceration to now be working towards the 2020 Cycling Australia Road Nationals.

It has not been an easy path for Watts - the mental challenges she has faced have been just as testing as the physical ones - but that she is able to draw positives after suffering such a trauma is proof of her bravery and her determination.

"I'm realising how much wiser I am and how much appreciation I have for actually being able to walk. I've been so lucky, which I appreciate so much," Watts said.

"I've turned what happened into a positive."

In April while on a training camp at Bright, Watts crashed in a corner while descending Tawonga Gap. While falling heavily, she remained conscious and was not initially aware of how serious her injuries were.

"My helmet did its job. I remember the half an hour on the ground - I remember everything," Watts said.

"I remember lying there and talking to the coach that was there, some nurse passed in a car so she stopped and stayed with me. They were like 'What hurts?' and I said 'Well, I've broken my collarbone before and it hurts a bit so it's probably broken'."

"I wasn't in any extreme pain, I was like 'It's uncomfortable lying here on the ground for half an hour'."

At hospital Watts learned that it was more serious than a broken collarbone and that a season which had seen her enjoy milestone moments had come to a premature end.

The incident left Watts in a neck and back brace for two-and-a-half months.

It would have been easy to hide away while she recovered, but she decided to post on her Race with Me Emily Watts social media platforms, even joking "not sure about a name change to Recover with me Emily Watts."

She put a positive spin on her posts and in turn, received plenty of encouragement to help her along the way.

"It was very difficult, just because it was very personal and you want to keep it to your inner circle. But people are going to ask questions about what was happening and what I was doing for a three-month period," Watts said.

"When I was sitting in hospital and making my first Instagram post to tell everyone, we were thinking 'What do we want to do? What do we want to say?'.

"We kept it very vague but the replies back - just the breadth of the cycling community is crazy and I realised you have everybody on your side, everyone cares about you and everyone wants to see you go well."

This story Emily Watts' brave return first appeared on Lithgow Mercury.