[Updated] Jolanda Neff to Take 3 Month Break to Recover From Crash

Jan 5, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
All in. Jolanda Neff getting warmed up for today s action.

Trek have posted an update on Jolanda Neff's recovery after her training crash in North Carolina and it seems like we won't be seeing her racing for some time.

As the Swiss rider celebrated her 27th birthday, she explained to her sponsor that although her spleen is still in her body, it is now dead. While this shouldn't affect her in the long run, she will have to be careful not to raise her blood pressure over the next three months or she risks bursting the plug in her artery, which would mean internal bleeding and emergency surgery.

She is hoping that she will be able to recover quicker than the doctors advised but when asked about her racing prospects she said, “I will not race again until after March. I fly back to Switzerland next week to make a plan with the Swiss Olympic team doctor, Patrik Noack, on how to go forward. The more I rest, the faster I recover.”

Read the full interview here.



Original Story


Jolanda Neff has been involved in a crash she describes as "life-threatening" while training in North Carolina. She apparently crashed into a pile of tree trunks and branches and suffered a broken rib, a partially collapsed lung and a ruptured spleen.

It sounds like she has now been stabilized thanks to the local medical services and filmer Joe Bowman but it likely means a long time off the bike for Neff as she explains that "futher plans have not been made yet".

bigquotesWhile I was riding my mountain bike in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina, I came off the trail at high speed and crashed onto a pile of tree trunks with spiky branches. My lungs partially collapsed, I broke a rib, and my spleen got ruptured which caused internal bleeding.

To stop the bleeding, the medical team first wanted to remove my spleen with emergency surgery but luckily the trauma team at Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC, had an expert who could do a procedure called embolization, which meant he went into the artery of my leg to go up to the artery of my spleen to block it with a plug. I am very lucky to be in such good hands!

Luca Shaw has been taking such great care of me and I can’t thank him and his fantastic family enough for being here for me 24/7. Also big thanks to Steel City Media for getting me out of the woods. The people at Mission Hospital did an excellent job in a life-threatening situation and my guardian angel has been amazing the last couple days. Trek has been super supportive and sent me a bouquet of beautiful flowers. I‘m still in a lot of pain and breathing is hard, but my condition is stable now. I’m sleeping a lot. Further plans have not been made yet. Thank you to everyone for your messages!
Jolanda Neff


Press Release: Trek

During a training ride in the Pisgah Forest, near Brevard, North Carolina, Jolanda Neff came off her bike at a high speed which resulted in a ruptured spleen, a fractured rib, and a collapsed lung.

“I misjudged a downhill corner on a trail that was new to me during my training ride and I went off track and over the bars, falling into a pile of logs,” said Jolanda Neff. “I immediately knew something was wrong.”

Neff received excellent care at the hospital in Asheville, NC where she stayed for three nights and was released.

In order to stop internal bleeding in her spleen, Neff’s emergency medical team used a technique called embolization and thankfully avoided the need to remove her spleen.

It’s unclear what these injuries mean for Neff’s preparation for the cross-country season and her Olympic bid. She was scheduled to compete at the Cyclocross World Championships in Duebendorf, Switzerland on February 1.


We wish Jolanda all the best in her recovery and hope to see her back on the bike again soon.


170 Comments

  • 227 0
 Dang. Get better soon Jolanda!
  • 132 0
 I could not be more proud of my former co-workers at Mission! Well done everyone!

Best wishes & prayers for a speedy recovery Jolanda!
  • 23 8
 They don't just make expensive anodized stems in Asheville!
  • 50 2
 @yupstate: emergency healthcare, bike parts, and locally made MDMA are all bountiful
  • 12 6
 @Mntneer: Better extacy then meth. Meth heads will DEF steal your bike. Party kids only MIGHT.
  • 6 0
 Lower Black trail is no joke!! Get well soon Jolanda!!
  • 6 18
flag DavidMakalaster (Dec 26, 2019 at 15:33) (Below Threshold)
 Mission Hospital in Asheville is BY FAR the worst I've ever been to. I have been injured a whole lot of times. Mission was the one time that stands out as terrible. They missed a fractured femur for starters but the whole experience was insane.
  • 4 1
 Mission took great care of me when I had a bad off in Pisgah. Shattered nose and face laceration... ER and facial surgeons were excellent!
  • 121 2
 jolanda...be cool
  • 9 0
 :-) I wonder how many get this line.
  • 6 0
 I'm actually disappointed in myself for never thinking of it
  • 5 5
 MUST UNDER RATED COMMENT
  • 5 3
 @xice:
please explain
  • 8 0
 @taprider: His name is actually Hunny Bunny
  • 4 1
 @xice: anybody 40+ (raises hand)
  • 10 1
 Any of you fing pricks move!, and I'll execute every last mf one of you!
  • 5 0
 @taprider: it's a quote from the final scene from Pulp Fiction (language warning): youtu.be/mvy4YH9--Vw
  • 30 0
 @ATXZJ: damnit
pulp fiction is 25 years old!?
I better return my VHS to Blockbuster.
  • 4 2
 Thank you everyone for explaining. That comment (and movie) are priceless. And a round of scooby snacks for y'all
  • 2 1
 @ATXZJ: hnjach... :-) (raise hand)
  • 1 0
 It's also a band name, they made a few songs like "we no speak americano", balkanic style partying positive vibes anthem.
  • 10 1
 @SMASH3D: but its all about tarantinos masterpiece and not about that crappy band
  • 6 20
flag rrolly (Dec 27, 2019 at 7:31) (Below Threshold)
 @funkzander: There are aspects of the film that are very good, but if you think this is a masterpiece, you need to see more movies.
  • 7 1
 @rrolly: You shut your dirty mouth with that!
  • 1 0
 @fruitsd79: have fun in bend!
  • 73 1
 So they fixed her spleen with a Stan's Dart?
No disrespect intended, wishing a quick and full recovery
  • 3 0
 More like a coil of metal in there, or several depending on the severity. I got 7 of them in my spleen in June....
  • 4 0
 @Betue: do they remove them in the future or are they permanently in there?
  • 6 0
 @atrokz: permanent. I’ve got one too. Its pretty awesome they can save the spleen. You can live without but you’re way better off with it.
  • 12 0
 they dont make spleens like they used to
  • 2 0
 @bullit398: yeah i ruptured mine in october and was flown to a hospital for either an embolism or a complete removal due to it being the worst level rupture there is and i had no operations. I just sat in a bed for 6 days in the hospital
  • 4 0
 @bullit398: Like a clutch derailleur.
  • 53 1
 Healing vibes and note to all trail builders, a polite note asking you to please cut all tree spurs back to the trunk and remove as many as possible, debris from the side of tracks and on the outside of corners.
  • 8 0
 First lessons made to me by parr & Charlie building trails for racing.
  • 9 0
 ... and this should go prior doing any berms of jumps into the trail... I always have this discussion with some enduro comps organizers... they spend the whole year going trought their local trails, friends and kids...being so easy going of track and hugging a tree... and then for the race they are more concerned about building ramps and stuff... and security should go first! ( Sadly we had a couple of accidents in Catalonia during races the last years in races for tree spurs..specially mediterranean woods are so dangerous in this aspect...)
  • 22 0
 Si, our Carolina Hemlock population is decimated and lying all over the forest. Our forests are pretty dense with every kind of blowdown and tree debris, but the hemlock deaths are off the charts and litter the forest floor everywhere. Seriously doubt her injury was caused by anything that could have been cleaned up. However, your point is very valid as there are trails where they use that kind of debris to choke off corridors and it looks like something out of an Indiana Jones pit of death scene.
  • 2 0
 @blowmyfuse:

Yep, tough to clean up all the trails in this terrain. Hard to understand till you have been here. But I agree, do as much as you can to make trails safe.

Impelling myself was always a HUGE concern for me when riding dirt bikes. I wore a full torso Leatt just because of that.

Hate to hear this happened. Heal up quick and glad it was no worse!
  • 3 4
 @blowmyfuse: I thought that's what Forest fires were for?
  • 7 4
 For a race course I get that you'd have to make the trail as crash-safe as possible but I'm not entirely sold on requiring that for a regular trail. Or course it is a nice thing to do as no one likes people getting hurt but generally (outside race situations again) it is up to the rider to inspect the trail and ride accordingly. To minimize bodily injury to yourself and others (which includes being extra mindful at trail crossings with other users), to avoid excessive trail damage (you know, those peeps who enter a section way too hot then are too chicken to modulate the front brake so they grab a handful of rear brake ripping the place apart) and well, there is a good number of other reasons to not go full tilt on your first lap. I definitely there is a bigger responsibility for the (trail/race) organization when there is a race and competitors are expected to go all out. But outside of racing, it is not a race. And when you ride your mountainbike on any trail (that is not the public road) then everything that happens is under your own responsibility. A trail organization could have cleared ten dangerous areas which may have saved ten unlucky riders (who would otherwise have been even even more unlucky). It somehow doesn't sound fair to even bother these same trail builders for not clearing another zone which that eleventh (more unlucky) rider crashed into.

Now I'm not blaming anyone. I'm not into blaming at all. I realize I'll be downvoted because a popular international athlete is down and the (to the general public) faceless trailbuilders have not done something that could have saved her. But if there is a (very good and appropriate) advice here to make sure crash zones are built and maintained as safe as possible then to balance things out I'd say as well that outside of race situation you always ride at your own responsibility. The limitation of how fast you can go somewhere isn't merely defined by how hard you can stomp the pedals like in a road race. There is much more to that and the slowest sets your pace.

All this said, of course all the best to Yolanda (or Jolanda, which is it?) and props to those who've been there to help.
  • 1 1
 @blowmyfuse: What is causing this decimation? Is it the double whammy of an invasive insect species coupled with the trees being weakened by climate change? This is going to become a problem everywhere at some point.
  • 5 0
 @fattyheadshok: .its only that one little parasitic bug from overseas. It has NO predator in the US & the Hemlocks have no defensive mechanisms. They attach to inside of the needles & the trees are dead within a year. The devastation is 100% kill rate. The only ones still alive are in National Parks where they regularly choose the trees with a 50 gallon saturation pesticide at the roots. They are the largest tree on the East Coast now that the American Chestnut is dead.
  • 1 0
 @fattyheadshok: dose the roots, not choose
  • 35 1
 As a trailbuilder, I constantly remind myself to ensure the crash zones alongside my trails are as safe as I can make them: no reverse-facing punji sticks, surprise babyheads, hidden roots, blocky log ends, etc. It's constantly important to consider wrecks during trail construction and maintenance. I've gone as far as to chainsaw-sculpt immovable stumps and logs to have rounded faces toward the upslope. It's one thing when the very nature of the terrain has consequences, but there's no need to compound the risks by stacking trail waste directly alongside the route. No matter how great the trail quality, always remember that some rider is going to crash into the surrounding terrain.
  • 4 0
 Agreed. I call the 1" branches near the ground "spleen stabbies" to remind myself to take them out.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for your pro-skill work!
  • 25 1
 This is the part of mountain biking I hate most. injuries suck. Get well soon!
  • 9 0
 The description of the stuff she fell into sounds a lot like Lower Black Mtn/Hickory Top where they used all the pine trunks to condense the corridor? Anyone know where she fell?
All of the tops of the Carolina Hemlocks dying out from the wooly adelgid parasites has left Pisgah so littered with pine trunks and punji sticks that it's way more dangerous than it used to be.

Hope she has a full recovery and gets healthy and strong again. Happens to riders more than we realize.
And @ICUJeremy much respect to the Mission E.R. teams!!!
  • 2 0
 It sounds like Daniels Ridge, doesn’t it?? That’s what I was thinking as well
  • 9 0
 @Ryanrobinson1984: to clarify, I was just thinking of Lower Black as a most likely culprit because they intentionally tossed pine trunks and logs into the insides of the corners to narrow the tread & it's the most ridden strip of trail out there

After I typed it, I remembered that we've got a huge ecology problem in Pisgah with all of the Carolina Hemlocks falling down & wanted folks to know I wasn't blame/shaming trail builders. When the hemlocks die, they leave pretty deadly debris with tons of spikes as opposed to most hardwoods when they fall.
  • 1 0
 She mentions it was on a trail that was new to her, and with how many times I have seen her on Clawhammer (getting passed) I have to imagine it was somewhere else
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: I think you’re probably right. It definitely would fit the description
  • 9 0
 Ruptured spleens are no joke, those can turn deadly very fast. So happy to hear she got quick treatment and is recovering.
  • 2 0
 I lost my spleen about 8 years ago. Hitting a big double, I was trying to whip the opposite way and leaned over a bit too far. Landed on my left side a had an emergency splenectomy after being stretchered out of the woods. Was back to full fitness within 6 months or so. Get well soon Jolanda.
  • 1 0
 yeah i ruptured mine in october and was flown to a hospital for either an embolism or a complete removal due to it being the worst level rupture there is and i had no operations. I just sat in a bed for 6 days in the hospital
  • 2 0
 @eric-knowles: not to be too picky, but the worst grade there is always requires surgery. Embolization is a great choice for lower-grade injuries. They may have said that you had the highest grade that could be safely treated without a procedure. That would make more sense. Regardless, glad you’re recovered because those injuries are no joke.
  • 2 1
 @tremeer023: get well soon bro!
  • 1 0
 Wow MTBers have a lot of ruptured spleens. So here is my story, I was out mtbing with some friends about 1 year ago, and crashed. We think it was from an impact on the handlebars that ruptured it. My friends didn't think it was anything major, but after driving 45 minutes home we finally stopped at the ER where we discovered it was a ruptured spleen. After a transfer to a bigger hospital about an hour away, they said it was a level 4 out of 5, and much worse than initially thought. They were successful in an embolization, and allowed me to return to lifting, and non-impact cycling within a month, but required me to wait for mtbing.
  • 10 0
 Pisgah beatdown is a real thing.
  • 3 0
 I can second that for sure.
  • 5 1
 Pisgah trails are no joke. Especially if you're not familiar with them. Things can get sketchy real fast.
  • 2 0
 I live in Oztralia and even I know that Pisgah beatdown is for reals.
  • 7 1
 Broken...ribs....suuuuck. I mean the other stuff is actually probably worse, but ribs..ughhh. Get well soon. Prayers....
  • 1 1
 broken mine 3 times. I tend to brake them with my own elbows in crashes while going OTB at high speeds and put my hands out to reduce impact as I roll. My arms collapse into my body so fast I break ribs.
  • 2 0
 @hitechredneck: you need to slow down bro
  • 13 7
 For fuks sake 2019 keeps sending injuries... holy sht what a year. Heal up Yolanda
  • 9 5
 Sad part is that we are going much fast due to bike technology advances, but our safety gear and focus fashion is keeping us in 1992 level of protection. I often beat my Moto buddies down a local trail. But they are geared out from head to toe to go 30 mph plus in between trees on dirt, but there is my dumb ass doing in a half shell and a pair of knee pads because it is cool. One day I hope safety is considered cool.
  • 6 1
 @hitechredneck: ironically I know a few folks who got seriously messed up while wearing full body armor. Moto dads get mangled in bike parks, I can literally look at a group of those and can bet one of the will be at the bottom station in a toboggan waiting for ambulance. They have very little skill on mtbs and all the moto experience of doing 50MPH through tight woods and flying 40-80ftrs. Same with experienced alpine skiers. Zero respect for speed.

Most of it all sits in the head, not in the protection. You have to be able to operate in your optimum. Good assessment of skill, fitness, tiredness, focus VS task at hand. Then risk vs reward.


Jolanda may as Well be used to going off the track like this, just this time there was some nasty stuff waiting for her. Sometimes shit just happens and there’s no point in doing assessment of could have would haves should haves
  • 8 1
 Sounds terrifying, get well soon!
  • 7 0
 Healing vibes and props to the crew, first responders, and critical care.
  • 8 3
 Lol... North Carolina is not California. I thought it was just us Americans that had geography issues.
  • 5 0
 Healing vibes and keep smiling. You are one badass and i hope we see you back on your feet real soon.
  • 3 0
 I hope you get better soon!! N I’m happy to see that you’re getting the love and support that you deserve in these hard times. The bike community is got your back if you need anything!
  • 5 0
 My heart sunk when I read the headline. With her tenacity I am sure she'll be back stronger than ever! Get well Yolanda!!
  • 4 0
 Put my face on the ground in Pisgah this summer, that place has some gnar that'll hurt you if you don't give it the respect it deserves (I didn't).
  • 6 0
 Get well soon
  • 6 1
 *While training in North Carolina
  • 5 0
 Best wishes for a complete and fast recovery!
  • 2 0
 Amazing that she was released from hospital after just three days. She is very fit. I believe she will heal and recover in time to compete for at least a part of the World Cup series.
  • 1 0
 Heal up quickly Jolanda, we just happen to be staying a block up the road from Mission Hospital while we ride the area over Christmas. Glad to know if anything happens were in good hands locally. Sending healing vibes your way.
  • 4 2
 I hope Trek is showing their support with more than flowers. Like covering all the medical bills considering it's your life constantly on the line just to use your name and pictures to sell more bikes. Get well soon!
  • 23 1
 As she is living in a civilized country with public health care and insurance ..... she won t need it
  • 1 0
 The inherent danger of our chosen sport can rear its head at any time, to anyone, even the best of the best. With the 2020 XCO season looking like it may be one of the greatest of all time it would be a danmdable shame if she wasn't in top form for it. celeri recuperatis, summa vota pro vobis Jolanda.
  • 5 0
 Get well Jolanda
  • 4 0
 That is a bummer! Get well soon Jolanda!
  • 4 0
 oh my goodness!! Frown .. sending good recovery vibes!
  • 4 0
 Come on Jolanda, heal up and I hope you crush it this season!
  • 3 0
 Whenever I read about these kind of injuries I want to buy a protector vest.
  • 5 3
 So why haven't you?
  • 3 0
 @thesharkman: fashion stops him LOL
  • 1 0
 @vhdh666: theyre either too big or too small
  • 2 0
 Great to hear she's in recovery and they saved her spleen. Heal up Jolanda! When I first saw the headline, I was worried that she was attacked by 3 vengeful bears.
  • 1 0
 Heal up, Jolaanda, fast and complete..I'm impressed with the hospital staff for saving your spleen. Back in my day, not that long ago, really, that was an automatic splenectomy.
  • 2 0
 She said " I knew immediately something was wrong"... I bet, the pain must have been next level for one thing. Talk about an understatement.
  • 1 0
 You can live without a spleen and recovery is much quicker and easier than trying to let it heal and remain intact. I wish they would've pulled mine instead of being bed ridden for 6 weeks.
  • 1 0
 That’s definitely the down side of non surgical treatment.
  • 1 0
 This sounds like the same treatment I had where they cut off blood flow to the spleen, and let it die. When I had it I was out of the hospital within a week, and returned to normal stuff, but no adrenaline activities. They even let me return to my weights routine within 3 weeks. It isn't the same as trying to heal it.
  • 5 1
 F... K
  • 4 0
 Best wishes heal up soon
  • 3 0
 Hoping for a fast recovery and to see you racing again soon.
  • 4 0
 Heal up JoJo!
  • 2 0
 Dang! Heal up! I was at Mission for 5 days in September and the trauma team there is amazing.
  • 4 0
 Get well soon.
  • 4 0
 Get well soon Jolanda!
  • 3 0
 Wishing a speedy recovery !
  • 3 0
 Heal up Jolanda. You've got this.
  • 3 0
 Get well soon. Full recovery in the works.
  • 2 1
 Can’t help but think when someone as skilled as one of these pros goes down, it can happen to any of us. Have fun out there, but be careful, y’all. And get well, Jolanda.
  • 2 0
 That's some bad luck. Heal up. We love watching you ride. Merry Christmas
  • 2 0
 Neff is fantastic! Sorry to read this and I look forward to her full recovery. Get well soon Jolanda.
  • 1 0
 Best Wishes Jolanda, you will come back stronger than ever, you've done it before! Beast mode! Just glad you're alive, that could have been deadly.
  • 4 0
 Gueti Besserig Jolanda
  • 2 0
 Gute Besserung Jolanda, hoffentlich bist Du bald wieder im Sattel!
Aus den Baumstämmen würde i Brennholz machen...
  • 2 0
 Whoa, hopefully she can make it to racing World Cup and Olympics. She is one of the best riders to watch on World Cup.
  • 1 0
 Take your time to heal. Took me 6 months after having my spleen embolised 5 years ago. Its a very serious injury. All the best.
  • 3 0
 Bah. Get better soon!
  • 3 0
 She is a fighter!
  • 3 0
 Hang in there girl!
  • 2 0
 You'll be back at it in no time. Speedy recovery. Keep smiling!
  • 1 0
 So sorry to here about this, were all very glad here on PB you will be ok ! Best wishes for a speedy recovery Jolanda!
  • 1 0
 Wishing you a full and speedy recovery Jolanda!! Another reminder of what pro Mtbers risk for the sport we love!!
  • 2 0
 Healing Vibes your way Jolanda!!!
  • 1 0
 Hope you heal up soon Jolanda...! As much of a champion she is, that spot should be called Jolanda corner!
  • 3 5
 The old saying goes, "what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger" (or crippled, deformed and let's not forget a heavy unwanted anchor at your love ones expense) all joking aside,
I hope the best for anyone going through a tough crash and recovery. May you find strength and wisdom throughout the darkness, for even in darkness the light shall prevail.
  • 2 0
 Oh that sucks! Heal up Jolanda!
  • 1 0
 Wow, the crappy year that was 2019 isnt going down without a fight. Gutted!
  • 1 0
 Speedy recovery! You are needed at the Olympics. Good job Luca!!! Yall get well soon
  • 1 0
 Everything happens for a reason. The rest/time off may do you more good than you ever imagined. Get well.
  • 2 0
 All the best Neff....get well soon!!
  • 2 0
 Feels bad man... Hope you're in top shape again for next season !
  • 2 0
 Pisgah is no joke! Get well soon Jolanda!
  • 3 0
 Get well soon Jolanda!
  • 2 0
 Please get better soon, you are an icon.
  • 1 0
 Nooooooooooooo????????????????. Eyes on Tokyo now girl. Stay strong and get well soon ????????????
  • 1 0
 ?????? We’re smiles. Forum does not allow them.. makes my comment look incoherent.....,hope to see you racing again soon!
  • 1 0
 @Prof Smile seems to work ok
  • 1 0
 To Ms. J, I truly believed that there's an angel that guides us thru our lives. You have 2! Be well!!
  • 1 0
 The Best for you ,heal up and get on the bike ,cause you are needed in the sport
  • 1 0
 Hei joly, viu chraft u schnäui heilig!
Isch ä risse schock! Du schaffsch das!!
Hoffe bisch bald wider fit!
  • 1 0
 Good Luck, I remeber having this same procedure, and those three months were so long.
  • 1 0
 You Swiss folk are the toughest on the planet, you'll be back! Much love...
  • 1 0
 Next big thing, light weight torso protection. Seems like all we are concerned about it is the head and knees.
  • 1 0
 Bugger! That’ll make the women’s XCO season a lot less exciting.
  • 2 1
 The season doesn't start for quite a while, right?
  • 3 0
 @COnovicerider: Yes but that’ll massively impact her training.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: no doubt.
  • 1 0
 Oh shit! Christmas powered healing vibes Jolanda!
  • 2 0
 Not Yolanda!
  • 2 0
 Speedy recovery Jolanda
  • 2 0
 Heal up fast Jolanda!
  • 2 0
 Heal up Jolanda!
  • 1 0
 Sad to see her like that. Heal up fast!
  • 1 0
 Offt, been there done that, hopefuly she is back up to speed soon!
  • 1 0
 Oh man, this sport. Such ups and downs.
  • 1 0
 Get well soon! Und komm schnell wieder auf die Beine
  • 1 0
 Never Give Up! Back soon!
  • 1 0
 All the best, get well soon!
  • 1 0
 Gute Besserung und mentale Stärke für den Kampf zurück an die Spitze.
  • 1 0
 dang gutted. get well jolanda!!
  • 1 0
 The spleen is dead, Long live the spleen!
  • 1 0
 Time to heal...Neff said.
  • 1 0
 Speedy and 100% recovery Jolanda!
  • 1 0
 Get well soon!
  • 1 0
 Speedy recovery Jolanda!
  • 1 0
 Be strong! We love you.
  • 1 1
 早日康复!!
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