Its a miracle Im alive says Olympic figure skating champ Hanyu

Olympic and world figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu said on Thursday that it was a “near miracle” he survived a sickening collision during warm-up in China earlier this month.

The Japanese heartthrob was left bleeding from the head and needed stitches in his jaw after smashing into China’s Yan Han in Shanghai.

He controversially skated on despite fears he might have suffered a concussion, triggering criticism of Japan’s organising body.

“I know there was a lot of criticism of me, my coaches and the federation for skating,” Hanyu told reporters before the NHK Trophy which begins in Osaka on Friday. “I know after such a nasty collision it was a risk — and in some ways it’s little short of a miracle I’m here now.”

Hanyu’s statement came on the day Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes died after being hit on the head by a rising ball while batting during a domestic match on Tuesday, and followed a backlash from former Japanese Olympians over why Hanyu had been allowed to skate.

It also comes after a horrifying crash at last month’s Japanese Grand Prix which left French driver Jules Bianchi fighting for his life, prompting Formula One bosses to look at further tightening safety measures in their sport.

“I hadn’t heard about (Hughes) but I am thankful to have survived,” said Hanyu, who was diagnosed with cranial bruising. “I’m sorry to have worried everyone. I heard all about the dangers of second-impact, but the doctors checked me thoroughly and assured me I did not have concussion.”

Neurological experts claim that people who suffer a further concussion before symptoms of the first have subsided can have a 50 percent risk of dying.

The 19-year-old said: “One centimetre to the right or left and I might have died, but athletes push themselves to the limits… I didn’t feel too dizzy and there wasn’t that much blood really. I listened carefully to the advice of the doctors and my coach and decided I didn’t want to quit.”

Hanyu, who had been warned by coach Brian Orser it was “no time to be a hero” after his accident, went on to fall five times during his routine in China and arrived in Japan in a wheelchair, but he insisted he was fit enough to compete in Osaka.

“I’m not 100 percent but I want to make it to the Grand Prix Final, so I’ll give it my best shot,” said Hanyu, who finished runner-up in Shanghai despite the scare. “My injuries still hurt a little but the pain is subsiding. The doctors have cleared me so please don’t worry.”

Hanyu just needs a podium finish at the NHK Trophy this weekend to secure a spot in next month’s Grand Prix Final in Barcelona.


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