Kat Matthews, a long-distance triathlon, is getting ready to venture into the unknown following a terrifying crash.
The 31-year-old will return to competitive racing on April 22 when she competes in the IRONMAN Texas. Yet, last year in the exact same US state, the Brit’s training ride went horribly wrong when she was struck by a car.
She suffered fractures to her skull, two neck vertebrae, sternum, and one rib, and just just learned that she had damaged her hip socket. She could have perished in that crash, she admits it herself.
Matthews is open about the psychological toll this has had on her, and as she gets ready to return to racing, it’s a concern.She told Mirror Sport, “Nothing is fixed in stone, and I think that’s how it works in this sport. “You may be having a terrific week and then get hurt the following week.
“I got this idea in November, so it’s pretty fantastic that this week I really entered the race. I debated whether or not I wanted to discuss it in public before deciding that I did.
“But I’m sure I’ll regret talking about it in two weeks when I have a somewhat poor week!
I still don’t know how I’ll handle that, very much. That might work perfectly fine or it might not.Matthews was one of the favourites leading up to the World Ironman Championships in October 2022. But just 10 days before that event, while cycling along a Texas road, she collided with a car as it turned across her.
As she describes it, the vehicle “jack-knifed” her, and she was left facing an unimaginable battle to recover physically but also mentally.
Thanks to her military background – Matthews is also a captain and physiotherapist in the Royal Army Medical Corps – she knew what a recovery from trauma entailed. There is no pathway like with a knee or wrist injury, everyone’s trauma recovery is unique to them.
And she was also acutely aware that, while her body could recover, the mental toll would be long lasting. As a result, she began to lose that sense of identity and also freely admits grieving.