Artery, Clavicle Plate, Surgery, WRC, Louise Cook

2015 Season Screwed for Cook

Louise Cook’s hard struggle to get back to the WRC was dramatically halted by a surgical screw from an operation two years previous. The screw was now compromising one of her main arteries  beneath her collarbone plate. Louise, who would have had this weekend’s WRC Wales Rally GB in the schedule as her final round, now is forced to look towards 2016 to make a long awaited return.

Louise has struggled for over two years finding sponsorship to return to the sport, this despite her sporting success in 2012, in becoming the first female in the world to gain an FIA championship award. Louise had gained enough support to start the season and with enough budget for the first two of her 5 round World Rally Championship campaign. Louise suddenly took a major set-back just days before the team were set to leave for the WRC round, Rally Italia Sardinia in June.

“I was just trying a new seat out. I tightened up the harnesses as normal and I noticed some strange pain and then numbness in my arm. I tried the straps a few times and it kept happening. Since the original operation, I had experienced a few small sensations with the arm which I was told were probably nerves. I hadn’t suffered any major problems and I had been happily driving since the operation back in 2012. I had even tested a Mini World Rally Car, the fastest type of car in my sport whilst coaching movie star Idris Elba for a BBC documentary.”

“I wasn’t sure what to think, my surgeon said it was nerves and it should be nothing to worry about. I got the seat fitted and got on with the rally preparations.”

“I was cutting up my dinner at the table the night before we were set to leave and suddenly I had some serious pains, then numbness and rushing sensations, this time my arm started to turn purple I was pretty worried. I rushed to A&E to get it looked at, they did a test for blood clots but this came back ok. I was told not to move my arm too much and definitely not to lift it up in case of further injury to the vessels or nerves, which was concerning. I was told I should definitely not compete by the A&E doctor and to be honest. I was heartbroken after all the work that had gone in and the two year battle raising the funding.”

“An Orthopaedic surgeon at Maidstone Hospital said that it was not possible for the clavicle plate to be causing the problem after two years and it must be something else.“

Louise found it very difficult to find anyone to diagnose the problem and was left in limbo not being able to use her arm whilst awaiting a diagnosis.

“I saw everyone, Neurosurgeons, Orthopaedic Surgeons and Vascular Surgeons. I had X-Ray’s, Ultra Sounds, MRI’s, CT’s, it took forever to get any answers and the pain was now constant.”

Louise finally got her diagnosis when a CT Angiogram showed her fear that a surgical screw was indeed sticking in her Subclavian artery and obstructing blood flow.

“I could not believe how lucky I had been. I was about to set off to Rally Italia Sardinia where I had previously snapped my clavicle on a landing from a jump back in 2012. I do not like to think of what could have happened if I had taken the same impact this time around. I didn’t see it at first, there were a lot of strange obstacles and events that went on leading up to the rally and I can see now that I was being looked after, I am grateful for that.”

“I was so close to getting back to the World Rally Championship. It was ripped away last minute, it is just unreal.”

Louise has had the clavicle plate carefully removed and is now back on the mend. Louise has now been signed off to drive her road car again and is back looking for sponsors for 2016.

“It will take a little time to get full strength back and probably longer to find the sponsorship again. I was hoping for some good momentum and results from this year to help gain the support of other businesses. It feels like I am starting all over again especially after losing so much money on the events, you plan and book so far ahead for it all.”

Let us hope Louise can find the support needed to create the female revolution in motorsport.


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