Broken collarbone and long before getting back on the bike?

I’m grateful that I’m alive and relatively ok. Brain bleed after hitting head (aero helmet saved my ear and check/face area!). Airlifted to trauma center and in for 5 days. Broken left clavicle and typical road rash on back, shoulder, knees, top of hands (from grabbing brakes on aero base bar).

Anyway, how long did it take you or someone you know to be able to get back on bike. I’m not looking to break any records or beat Wout or Tadej in a race, but want to limit my damage to my bike fitness. I’m not cleared for work return and hope to be later this week. I see the neurologist Thursday and Ortho on Monday 19t. I’m hoping to spin lightly and buid into a decent ride by next week.

Thoughts or personal experiences?

I’ve already deferred one Sprint triathlon to next year and my goal was to complete the 70.3 North Carolina triathlon in October but I can only transfer that or get some money back. I’ll likely try to get some money back because I don’t know how decent mt form will be once October rolls around.


Hard to say on the concussion. I had a coworker who spent about a month in a bit of a fog. I imagine it varies quite a bit.

I broke my clavicle the last weekend in April and had surgery 5 days later. I was on the trainer (one handed, recovery spins) 3 days later. I was cleared to use both hands within 2 weeks. I have my 6 week post surgery follow up this week and hope to be cleared to ride outside again then. I might have to wait 2-4 more weeks (for a total of 8-10). We’ll see what the xrays look like.

My understanding is that the recovery can be slower without surgery. Best to ask your doctors given your particular circumstances. But good chance you’ll be able to ride by October. I won’t speculate on how much fitness you’ll have back by then, though. Mine has tanked.


You were hospitalized for 5 days… You only get one brain. Wait until you talk to the neurologist before getting hopeful.

As far as the ortho side goes, I was back on the bike at 8 weeks after splitting my collarbone. I was cleared for indoor stuff at 3 weeks maybe, but I wasn’t motivated to workout indoors at that point in life/season.

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I had a similar concussion last summer. Brain bleed, three days in intensive care, significant time loss. I had other significant injuries, but not a broken collarbone

Before I go through what my medical team suggested and what I did, let me say they are very individual injuries and you should listen to your doctor, not Internet experts. This is my experience, not my advice

My physical stability came back very quickly, balance and full control there were back within a week. Headaches lasted nearly a month. Brain fog and memory gaps continues for three months

The two doctors I saw (always seek multiple opinions if you can) both advised me to resume very light physical activity as quickly as possible, stopping immediately when any issues presented

For me this was (very) short walks outside, never alone, multiple times a day. I did this for two weeks post discharge. Started doing trainer rides in addition to the walks after those two weeks. First one was almost zero resistance and lasted ten minutes. Progressively increased power and duration until I was able to do endurance power about a month post discharge

The consistent advice my doctors gave me was to keep active at an easy level but stop immediately when I felt any cognition or other mental issues

This differed from my expectations (lay in a dark room doing nothing) but apparently is the current thinking

The longer recovery for me was high level cognitive function, which took three months before I stopped recognizing weaknesses in my problem solving and other challenging activities


I’m certainly no expert and fortunately have no experience of a broken bone (well at least not one I have had diagnosed) but I’m just posting to wish you a speedy and good recovery!


For a “ simple” broken collarbone I was on the trainer within a few days post surgery and back outside 5 weeks post surgery with my ortho’s blessing.

But while I broke a bone it was really a minor crash in all other respects. I had no other injuries not even any road rash. I went to a dinner party the evening of my crash and other than taking one day off for the surgery didn’t miss any work.

Your results may vary as they say. A concussion is a whole different deal. Follow your doctor’s advice.

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It is very dangerous to have repeated head injuries before being fully recovered. One option to get back on the bike early is to initially use your trainer and do some easy to moderate indoor workouts if your doctor gives you the go-ahead.

Your body is under a lot of stress during the recovery process. I would advise against doing any hard training until later.

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Ive had 2 concussions from crashes…I think you have to be super careful to not hit your head for the next 4 weeks…you probably wont be able to ride outside for at least that long due to the clavicle…regardless do what your neurologist tells you…concussions are the real deal and can have lasting effects. Both of mine happened in races…I have no recollection of what happened after each crash…missing about 15-20 min post crash in both instances.

Like others here, I wish you a speedy and full recovery.
In the UK collarbones are left to sort themselves out unless complicated. My orthopaedic doctor was a cyclist and said I should take my time getting back on the bike. They suggested using the turbo, light gears and avoid loading my arms if I had to ride. I did some light spinning on week 4.
I have no experience of a concussion. I would suggest searching for an episode of The Cycling Podcast where pro athletes acer Lizzy Banks describes her concussion and how it affected her. It made an interesting but worrying listen.
Please remember you have been through a lot of trauma. The best thing to do is rest. Goals and ambitions must take a back seat until you’re 100%

Had similar thing on 16 January last year. Concussion, broken clavicle, punctured lung, 5 broken ribs, broken pelvis. Had surgery on the clavicle and ribs 2 weeks later, is yours being operated on ? Don’t want any weight going through that on the bars especially if it’s being left to mend by itself.

Had some tentative 20 min goes on zwift last week of Feb but really for mental well being looking back. It was clear from my heart rate I wasn’t ready, started doing bit more 2nd week of March so 6 weeks after accident. Luckily I had a brilliant physio to help guide me. She said keep anything zone 2 or less for a while as your heart rate will take months to settle, and said max 20-30 mins.

2 accidents with consussion and broken ribs in 2 years but all good now. Take it steady.

Now - adaptive training was brilliant as obviously my FTP fell off a cliff it soon worked out with 2 failed rides that it had dropped 30 odd, AI FTP worked a treat guiding me back.

A concussion should be taken very seriously. Do not put yourself in a situation where you may take another hit to the head until you are completely recovered from the concussion. You should consult with your doctor and follow their advice. That is what I have learned from all of the concussion protocol training we take each year coaching youth mountain biking.

Sorry if my original post was misleading. I am ONLY referring to trainer rides at the moment. I am in no rush to get back outside. I appreciate your and everyone elses concern and suggestions to play it safe. I definitely am and will be playing it safe… It just sucks not being able to do much when I am so used to training and getting into the summer when my training could ramp up (I’m an educator)… especially with the amazing TDF Netflix documentary that just came out!

I do triathlons and looking at my workout schedule I’ll likely only be doing light spinning and build from there and do running in a month or so…only if cleared. Then maybe pool in the second month, again, if cleared.

Thanks again.


I broke my clavicle, scapula, 5 ribs and bruised my lungs in a freak accident 11 weeks ago. Same day discharge from the ER and orthopedic surgeon determined the clavicle was not displaced enough to warrant surgery. So my arm was immobilized in a sling whenever I am outside of the house. I forced myself out for walks around the block the next day, it was hard. Was cleared to spin on the trainer a week after, was only able to do very very low power because of the injuries.

By week 4 I was able to do some Z3 work on the trainer, also started physio as the arm no longer needs immobilization; but due to the immobilization, the range of motion and strength is gone. By week 9 I was cleared to ride outside again and ROM is 85-90% back, slowly regaining muscle strength. Feel like I am about 75-80% from where I was prior to the accident, lost the top end power and it feels a little less stable out of the saddle because of the weaker left shoulder especially in a sprint position.

I will suggest to take it easy for the time being and not rush the recover. Please also watch your emotional health as you recover, I fell into a deep hole during the course. Didn’t realize at first that my mental health was taking a hit as I turned from an active person into having mobility issues for weeks.

Be kind to yourself and I wish you a speedy and full recovery.

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The mental aspects of an injury should not be overlooked. Everyone seems to be aware of the potential fear of getting back on the horse as an issue but, there other aspects. If you are used to training many hours a week and working towards a goal, and suddenly you are not able to work out that can affect you mentally in several ways. At a basic level, its almost like going into a drug withdrawal. For example, you’re sleep habits probably revolve at least in part being tired from training. Take that away, add in the injuries and suddenly you can’t sleep. It also can make you imagine you are getting worse than actually recovering if you focus too much on fitness and rather than the healing process. And sitting around imagining your goals possibly slipping out of reach can be a real mental challenge. The worse you feel from your physical injuries, the harder it is to believe you’ll come back good as new. As I mentioned earlier, I had pretty minor injury that kept me from riding outside for five weeks. In the grand history of my athletic life, it was just a minor blip. But for a couple weeks there, it was a real mental challenge to keep from freaking out.


Thanks, I appreciate your thoughts and response. I’m not so much worried about getting back to where I was, just .ote frustrated that I can’t drive ( hopefully that will change today at my neurologist appointment) or do anything physical due to the broken collar bone. I’m hoping to cleared for light gym bike riding and maybe water running or something. Also, hopefully able to return to light work duty next week.