Mountain-bike star in induced coma

Queenstown's Alanna Columb on her way to winning the Oceania Mountain Bike Championships downhill...
Queenstown's Alanna Columb on her way to winning the Oceania Mountain Bike Championships downhill title at Queenstown Bike Park in 2016. Photo: Si Williams
Three-time New Zealand women’s downhill mountain bike champion Alanna Columb was placed in an induced coma after a training accident in Queenstown on Wednesday night.

Columb knocked herself out at the resort’s Gorge Road Jump Park,  about 600m from her home.

The 29-year-old old was taken by ambulance to Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital, where she was placed in an induced coma.

About 11.30pm on Wednesday she was then taken by helicopter to Dunedin Hospital’s intensive care unit.

Her brother, Scott Columb, said she was on the road to recovery.

"She overjumped the jump and went down heavily, and the pupil in her right eye has blown," Mr Columb, who joined her on the helicopter, said.

"They did some scans when she arrived and they said it was better than expected.

"She’s done a little bit of damage to her teeth, and I think there’s a few fragments in her stomach."

He told the Otago Daily Times yesterday afternoon she had started waking from her coma.

Another brother, Lachie, said she was wearing a top-quality helmet.

"...and that has certainly saved her life and helped protect her brain".

Columb has won the New Zealand elite downhill mountain bike title for the past three years, after earlier competing in motocross.

She has also been Australasian champion and has a best World Cup placing of 10th.

After winning the New Zealand title last year, she broke her wrist and had only recently  got back on her bike, Scott Columb said.

"She’ll be fine, she’s in very good hands — it’s just a little bump in the road."

Coincidentally, at the same time as  she has been in Dunedin Hospital, her father Denis Columb, founding owner of Queenstown’s Off Road Adventures, has been in Invercargill’s Southland Hospital, having  his appendix removed.

- Philip Chandler


It's not just 'a bump in the road'. It is an accident that points to the risk associated with mountain biking. Alanna will recover and be back, but b hell, that's a sore sounding outfit as reported.