Santosh didn’t know what happened until seven days ago, his father Shiv Shankar told ESPN. He still doesn’t remember the accident, but in our conversations he gradually acknowledges that it happened. Now he’s asking questions like: Wow, that’s crazy, how did that happen?
The realization that this was not just a bad dream, but a real situation he was struggling with had a significant positive impact on the pace of his recovery.
The impact of his fall caused a diffuse axonal injury (DIA), a type of brain injury medically described as a resistant inertia that occurs in the brain before and after the sudden acceleration of the skull, causing a displacement of white matter axonal pathways. Clinically, DIA is divided into three categories depending on the severity and anatomical distribution of the lesion. Shiv Shankar was relieved when doctors assured him within three hours of the accident that Santosh’s case was not the most serious.
After spending eight days in a German-Saudi hospital in Jeddah in an induced coma, which is commonly used in head injuries to cut off blood supply to the injured areas and allow the brain to heal, Santosh was released on the 14th. Janvier transported to his native Bengaluru.
His parents, Shivshankar and Chandrakala, were placed outside the emergency room as he lay on wheels, immobile and heavily sedated. Even in this state, Shivshankar says, Santosh seems to have recognized his mother. He reached out and shook his mother’s hand. It was a defining moment for us. At that moment, we knew there was hope.
But when he regained consciousness a few days later, he could remember nothing of what had happened. He didn’t know why he was in a hospital bed, why the doctors were watching him, why he couldn’t get up and walk. He recalled going to Europe for a preparation camp about six months before the Dakar. But the rally and the accident had been erased from his memory. He couldn’t get over the fact that he was in the hospital and couldn’t remember how he got there.
Ace of Dirt, the brainchild of CS Santosh, is a driver competition in which 32 Indian drivers will participate and the winner of which will get a chance to train with Santosh. red bull
Santosh spent a lot of time in the intensive care unit of a private hospital in Bengaluru watching videos of races, his own and those of other runners, on his phone. Speaking about his return to motorcycling and his love for the adventure of racing, Shivshankar pauses to collect his words.
Santosh suffers from short-term memory loss and finds it hard to accept that the accident is slowly spiraling out of control. He finds his way, like the salt flats and dunes of the Dakar Rally, without navigational aids. Last week he travelled, nervously, 85 kilometres to Big Rock Dirt Park, an off-road training centre on the outskirts of Bengaluru, which he founded eight years ago. This weekend, the second edition of Red Bull’s Ace of Dirt will take place here. Off-road racers are tested on a specially designed course for Santosh in a unique elimination format.
My elder brother, who was Santosh’s favourite uncle, died four years ago, but he could not imagine not remembering him, Shivshankar said. But when I went to Big Rock with him last weekend and went over with him what we already had on the field, he kept nodding and could remember almost everything. When we describe past events, he tells us it helps him remember them. It must be hard for him, but anyone who knows Santosh knows he’s a fighter. Even the doctors in Bengaluru who are helping him with his neurological rehabilitation are amazed at his rapid progress. It may take some time, but we are confident he will make a full recovery.
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With the exception of the few dozen people who participate in this grueling and dangerous event, where man and machine mix and collide on dangerous terrain, the rest of us aren’t quite clear on how the Dakar Rally driver sees life. In 2013, Santosh crashed during the World Rally Championship with fatalities and suffered third-degree burns after his motorcycle caught fire. Two years later, Santosh drove a replica of a KTM450 rally car and became the first Indian to participate in the Dakar. There are times when you sit on the bike and wonder why you are doing all this, going through all this pain and agony….. Santosh would have told us in an earlier interview, but at the end of the day, if you do it, there is a reward.
This year he competed for the seventh time in the annual Rally Raid, which was held in Saudi Arabia over 14 days, 12 stages and 7,646 km. Santosh crashed while covering 135 km on the fourth stage of the 685 km rally, which included the first dune on the 30 km stretch, followed by a long off-road section leading to dirt tracks between Bisha and Wadi Ad Dawasir.
He is now taking small steps toward normality and has begun moderate physical activity. He’s planning to go cycling soon.
This is the first time in many years that Santosh has returned home for such a long time, Shivshankar said. in the evening we go out for a quiet dinner. He’s much calmer now. The hardest days are probably behind us now.