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Amy Pieters has walked for the first time since suffering a severe head injury in a training crash almost a year ago.
The 31-year-old has been undergoing rehabilitation since waking from a coma in April following a crash while training with the Dutch track squad in December last year.
In August, she moved her rehab treatment to the Daan Theeuwes Center in Woerden, Netherlands, a facility that specializes in treating young people with severe acquired brain injuries. There, she has been making progress in her recovery and has been able to walk for the first time and ride a side-by-side tandem bike.
An update on Pieters’ website detailed the progress that she has made as well as the challenges she has faced. While she is now able to walk, with support, she is still unable to express herself verbally.
“Amy has taken her first steps,” an update on Pieters’ website said. “Amy has been in therapy for a while at the Daan Theeuwes Center in Woerden, the Netherlands. Various exercises and training sessions are given that Amy participates in. Amy has already been able to cycle along on a side-by-side tandem.
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“Lately, it’s been a little more difficult to motivate Amy with physical exercises. Talking is not yet possible, which makes it difficult to explain herself. Not being able to explain or express herself is sometimes a bit difficult for her and also for us. Fortunately, she can be motivated by playing a game. We take it for granted that she chooses her own moment. And that moment comes because suddenly she is standing.
“With a little help, she gets up from her chair and takes her own steps. She walks for short moments when supported. This is what we like to see. Amy sets the pace. There are days when she doesn’t want to show this again, and then there comes another day when she wants to stand, starts walking, and immediately makes a serious effort.”
Amy Pieters has taken her first steps!
Amy has been in therapy for a while at the Daan Theeuwes Center in Woerden. She has also already been able to cycle along on a side-by-side tandem.
— Team SD Worx (@teamsdworx) October 25, 2022
Though it has been slow, Pieters has made some progress with her speech, and she has begun saying words.
“We now hear more and more soft sounds from her. Then we’re glad to hear from her. Sometimes we suddenly hear a small word clearly escape from her mouth. She does not repeat this yet, but it’s so nice and hopeful to hear her familiar voice in this spontaneously uttered word,” the update said.
Pieters’ progression has not been entirely linear and there have been some setbacks for her. She has suffered a number of epileptic seizures that have interrupted her recovery.
“There are also moments of panic. Everything seems to be going a little better and then suddenly we are again confronted with the facts. Amy had an epileptic seizure. Ambulance at the door and panic everywhere,” the update read. “The last time Amy had an epileptic seizure she had a massive relapse. Probably by acting well and quickly and letting her sleep for a long time, Amy has no further serious consequences, apart from a considerable fatigue. Thank god.”