Cyclist emerges from coma

Triathlete tweets 'Hello world' and memory seems good since he suffered heart attack.

Andrea Hewitt and Laurent Vidal. Photo / Greg Bowker
Andrea Hewitt and Laurent Vidal. Photo / Greg Bowker

Triathlete Laurent Vidal has emerged from an induced coma and is showing signs of making a positive recovery from a heart attack suffered in training at the weekend.

Vidal, the French fiance of leading New Zealand triathlete Andrea Hewitt, collapsed during a pool training session near Montpellier.

Yesterday he tweeted "Hello world", indicating he had emerged from his coma.

Chief executive Craig Waugh said Tri New Zealand had been informed that Vidal was conscious and his memory appeared intact.

"He has been taken out of his induced coma and he is able to remember things," Mr Waugh said. "Andrea is there with him."

Hewitt had been at Vidal's bedside since flying to France to be with him on Saturday.

Mr Waugh said top level triathletes typically underwent cardiac screening, which was designed to pick up potential heart issues.

Vidal is Hewitt's lead coach but, as a French athlete, his screening would have been performed by that country's triathlon officials.

Vidal, 30, went into cardiac arrest after a training swim at a pool in Sete. He sought help after suffering chest pains but collapsed and had to be revived.

It is not the first time Vidal has suffered health problems. In 2011 he underwent a series of stringent tests after losing consciousness during a race in Sydney, the second time that he had fainted while exercising.

He was eventually diagnosed with neurocardiogenic syncope, a nerve problem that causes a sudden drop in blood pressure, but the condition was not thought to be dangerous to his overall health.

Hewitt and Vidal split their time between Sete and Christchurch, and both athletes are regular travellers while competing in the ITU World Triathlon series.

Vidal, who on his website describes himself as an "adopted Kiwi", spent last Christmas with his family in the south of France before heading to the South Island to prepare for the 2014 triathlon season.

He has forged a close connection with New Zealand's high performance programme and regularly competes at national events, last month finishing 10th at a world cup race in New Plymouth.

Vidal placed fifth at the 2012 London Olympics, a spot ahead of Hewitt's position in the women's race, and he finished sixth overall on last year's world series circuit.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 26 Dec 2014 02:53:31 Processing Time: 381ms