Recovering from Accident - blood loss

Hi all, about 6 weeks ago whilst on my commute to work, a car, turning right, crossed into my bike lane and i collided into it - T Bone. I suffered major facial lacerations, broken (not fractured) jaw and lost 5 teeth. I was unconscious cannot remember the incident.

On the path to recovery now ( major dental work pending) and i have finally been able to ride my bike again…

I am sharing my story because I am intrigued by what i am now experiencing. I expected to lose fitness and conditioning - this is what i am now finding:

Firstly, due to nature of the impact, i have tenderness in my neck - C3 & C4. Slowly building strength but i cannot (yet) ride for more than 90 mins. I would love to hear from anyone who has had neck pain.

Higher Heart Rate ( i say this with a grain of salt understanding how unreliable heart rate is). I am 36 years old and my max HR is approx 185.

Last year, the highest HR is ever got to was 182. This includes during Ramp Tests and 150 VO2 intervals. During a climb, working at approx 95% for about 4 mins, my HR got to 192. This raises a few questions:

  • why was my HR higher than before?
  • Have I not been working as hard?

Running out of Oxygen
I did another ride with a longer climb. Again, close to threshold - 95%. After about 4 mins, again HR above 190, i just felt like i had to stop because I couldn’t take any more oxygen. I felt that i could sustain power - just didn’t have enough oxygen. Not sure if that makes sense!
I though this was me just giving up to early. At the next hill, same thing happened, watts felt fine but after about 3 mins I just had to stop - felt that i didn’t have enough oxygen…weird.

This got me thinking as I remembered listening to a pod cast and coach Chad was talking about bloods - hematocrit, haemoglobin etc…so i decided to have a look at my medical records and the blood tests during my accident…A lot could be explained.

Due to the blood lost, I lost a lot of red blood cells. My reading was 4.0 below the minimum range of 4.5. Haemoglobin was 113 compared to 130-180. HCT 0.35 compared to 0.40 - 0.54.

I am not sure how long it will take for me to rebuild my red blood count. From what others have said, could be 6 - 12 weeks?

Is there anything you can do, diet etc to assist this process…EPO, transfusions???lol

Keen to here what other have experienced.

For now, Aerobic rides and training only.

BTW - not planning to race. I enjoy being fit and challenging myself. Also, I am based in Australia, the numbers I have given could different in different parts of the world - hence i gave ranges.


Here is a related discussion.

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First of all, whoa! That sounds like a nasty collision & here’s to hoping you have a complete recovery. Yikes.

2nd, late last year I had a very thorough panel of bloodwork done. It required ~90ml of blood to get all the various tests done. That doesn’t sound like much but I’m convinced that it knocked me back for ~three weeks. I think the Bejder’s recently published experiments with micro blood doping confirm that even very small amounts of blood can make statistically significant differences in cardio-respiratory performance…and my experience seems to confirm that.

Your trauma was major! Way, way more physical disruption than a few tens of ml of blood drawn. It wouldn’t surprise me if the after effects of injuries that pronounced could linger for many weeks.


I think you’ve likely identified the cause - loss of blood led to lower red blood cell count.

It’ll take 4-6 weeks, maybe more if you lost a lot of blood, to rebuild your red blood cell count,

Make sure your diet includes sufficient protein and iron.

Also, blur or cut out your personal info on the pic of your medical record


Thank you Brennus. You are right. It will take a while. I will be careful to manage myself to fully recover.

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Looking forward to full recovery. Major dental work pending - will take a while.

Its amazing how small amounts of blood can make a difference. I knew this “cognitively” after listening to podcasts, Lance etc. This is different - i am now experiencing it…

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I’m glad you’re ok! I would expect the normal range for HCT for an endurance athlete to be 41-48. 54 would be very high. That being said of course having an HCT in the 30s would be extremely detrimental to performance. You must have lost a fair amount of blood in the accident! (do you happen to have a number of ml or L? as a former trauma nurse I’m curious lol) The TDF used to suspend people for being 50 or higher in the days of dope before the testing had advanced. You’ll see slow and steady improvements as time goes on, but be careful not to overdo it. Its easy to want to see your previous fitness return quickly. I would be sure to consult your doctor about the neck problems as well. Focus on the process… eat well, recover well, and train when you can. Good luck on your recovery!

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I slipped my c4/c5 disc somehow several years ago. The pain was agonizing… I absolutely could not focus for more than an hour when it flared up. My first lesson from that was to immediately blast it with large doses of ibuprofen to bring the swelling down asap. Second, I (still) have to be careful of my head position when I go to sleep. When my head is elevated/propped up too much I tend with wake up with a pretty harsh kink in my neck, which can quickly lead back to original pain if it keeps happening.

Looking at my numbers, my HCT was 0.35 vs a normal range of 0.40-0.54.

My Haemoglobin was 113 g/L vs a range of 130-180.

I have attached a copy of my blood results

I am based in Australia. The units of these figures might be different.

That’s good advice. I bought myself a pillow with a dip in the middle to keep my neck level. BEST THING EVER. I haven’t kept up the Iboprofen - this is now a priority. Thank you.

Also, you might consider that you may have a concussion. That may also contribute to some of your symptoms.

no worries… in the US we generally use g/dl for hemoglobin, and hct is expressed as a percentage. The math all checks out :slight_smile: I wish the rest of the country would switch to metric as the medical and scientific communities have!

I had a bleeding ulcer abut 5 years ago, lost quite a bit of blood. It was quite a while before I felt like myself again. easily a couple of months. For 3-4 weeks after the event, I would get tunnel vision just from going up a flight of stairs.

Hopefully you are now recovered. I can now relax and enjoy riding my bike again knowing it will take a while.