Australian cyclist Kai Sakakibara has been placed in medically induced coma after suffering a tragic accident at a World Cup event. Sakakibara had been considered a strong medal prospect in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, on Saturday tripped on the second corner through his opening-round heat at a World Cup event in Bathurst. The 23-year old was treated on-site by paramedics and a doctor before being airlifted to a hospital.
On Sunday morning, Kai Sakakibara underwent surgery to release the pressure on his brain and is currently stable despite being in a critical condition. He was placed under a medically induced coma and will remain in the state for at least a fortnight, said a statement by Sakaibara’s family. The declaration further added that there is a long road to recovery and will need time to settle before having an accurate understanding of his diagnosis.
Kai Sakakibara’s family further asked for the support of fans saying that the Australian cyclist needs their support and positive energy sent his way. The statement accredited to his parents Martin and Yuki and sister Saya further asked the supporters to keep thinking of Kai and stay with the family during this challenging period. The family added that Kai Sakakibara’s head injury meant that his BMX career is on hold for now, and they will focus on his long-term rehabilitation and how things progress.
Kai Sakakibara and his sister Saya were born in Australia but grew up in Japan. There was a tug-of-war service between Japan and Australia after their skills became apparent, but both pledged to wear the Australian colours in international events after representing Japan in the junior levels. In an interview with Herald and Age last year, Kai had said that he decided to represent Australia when he turned 17. Sakakibara told that he was living in Australia and was immersed in the Australian BMX scene so the decision personally made sense to him. Kai Sakakibara is ranked 10 in the UCI elite men's category with younger sister Saya Sakakibara fifth in the elite women's division.