American BMX racer Connor Fields suffered a brain hemorrhage after the defending gold medalist was involved in a serious crash during the Tokyo Olympic Summer Games’ semifinals on July 30, his team confirmed.
“The doctors reported that Fields sustained a brain hemorrhage at the venue,” USA Cycling said in a medical update on the condition of the 28-year-old Olympic gold medalist from Las Vegas. He also sustained a collapsed lung and broken ribs in the crash.
“After a night in the ICU, the doctors are pleased to report that there has been no additional bleeding, and no new injuries were found,” his team added. “Fields has been moved out of the critical care unit and will remain in the hospital until cleared.”
Fields, who previously won gold in BMX racing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and was a favorite to win gold again in Tokyo, landed hard off a jump heading into the first turn in the third run. He slammed into a turn and was struck by two other riders, Twan van Gendt of the Netherlands and Sylvain Andre of France, before being attended to by medical personnel.
Multiple pictures from the crash scene show Fields lying on the track before being stretchered by medical staff. He was then immediately transported to Tokyo’s St. Luke’s International Hospital.
His mother, Lisa Fields, said on July 31 in a lengthy statement on Facebook that her son is still “constantly sleeping but is cogent and communicative when awakened.” She also thanked everyone for their “outpouring of care and support.”
“Latest CT scan shows no additional brain injury and no additional bleeding … brain function evaluation is ongoing and I will continue to update as I know more and after I get to speak with him,” she said.
“Thank you all for your companionship and concern and prayers for Connor,” she added. “He will thank [you] himself when he is able, but for now I am—on his and all his family’s behalf.”
This was not the first time Fields has been in a serious crash. At the national championships in 2018, he hit his head and was knocked unconscious. He awoke strapped to a stretcher and was taken by ambulance to a hospital.
“When I asked what happened,” he recalled ahead of the Tokyo Games, “they told me I had a seizure on impact. I haven’t really ever been knocked out before, and when they told me that I was absolutely terrified.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.