Just a few weeks after doctors expressed concerns over BMX star Kai Sakakibara’s chances of surviving a crash, his family have now been given renewed hope.
Just a few weeks after doctors expressed concerns over BMX star Kai Sakakibara’s chances of surviving a crash, his family have now been given renewed hope.

Family’s hope in BMX star’s brave battle for survival

FAMILY of critically injured former Gold Coast BMX star, Kai Sakakibara, have spoken of his brave battle for survival, revealing that doctors are now confident he will make it.

Sakakibara, 23, was placed in a medically induced coma in Canberra Hospital last month after a major crash while competing at Bathurst.

He had been racing in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, where he was considered a strong medal prospect.

In a heartfelt update released by Cycling Australia, his parents Martin and Yuki and sister Saya - also a champion BMX rider - said Kai was still under 24-hour intensive care.

"A few weeks ago, doctors were not confident he would survive, but he has been fighting hard, and doctors are now more optimistic he will make it," the family said.

"Kai has not woken up yet, so doctors don't have any real idea of the extent of the injury."

"However, they do know he had a severe knock to the head, and they tell us rehabilitation will take many, many months.

"They also said that Kai is young and extremely fit, which will really help."

Footage showing BMX rider Kai Sakakibara falling during race at Bathurst, NSW, in February 2020. Photo: SUPPLIED
Footage showing BMX rider Kai Sakakibara falling during race at Bathurst, NSW, in February 2020. Photo: SUPPLIED

"At the moment Kai is hooked up to a number of crazy machines that are beeping, flashing, showing numbers and strange waveforms.

"He's being fed intravenously and is on a respirator to help with his breathing," they said.

"The nurses looking after Kai 24/7 are doing an amazing job and taking great care of him.

"The immediate goal is to get Kai off the respirator as soon as possible so he can move out of the Intensive Care Unit and onto the next step in the process."

The Sakakibara family said they were staying in an Airbnb about 10 minutes' walk from the hospital, and were visiting Kai three or four times a day.

"Every Monday at (noon) we have a meeting with the neurosurgeons, ICU specialists, a nurse and a social worker, where we ask the hard questions and they tell us they don't have the answers," they said.

Sibling BMX riders Kai and Saya Sakakibara on the Gold Coast before Kai’s tragic accident. Photo: Adam Head
Sibling BMX riders Kai and Saya Sakakibara on the Gold Coast before Kai’s tragic accident. Photo: Adam Head

"The reality is it is still too early for a good prognosis, we are told Kai is progressing tiny steps at a time, and we really need to be patient.

"This is going to take a long time, and we don't know what to expect."

The family said they were playing music to Kai, as they were told it would help his recovery, and asked fans to send playlists.

"He has a wide selection of music and particularly likes rap, some of the lyrics to the songs in his collection have a fair amount of explicit words beginning with the letter "f" or the word "mother"," the Sakakibara family said.

"The nurses like Kai's collection, they don't mind the lyrics and said that Kai has a great taste in music.

"However, it would be awesome if people could create some new playlists for #KaiFight77 on Spotify so we can play them for him."

"We are still staying positive and taking things day by day," they said.

"The support and good wishes from everyone have been absolutely amazing and uplifting; we have seen message boards, signed banners, #KaiFight77 stickers on helmets, Kai's photo on Facebook posts and much more.

"It's very humbling to know how many people are concerned about Kai both from Australia and internationally."

UPSTART: Kai Sakakibara wants to create a few upsets at the National Series in Cairns this weekend.
UPSTART: Kai Sakakibara wants to create a few upsets at the National Series in Cairns this weekend.

"We are on social media and have heard fantastic stories of fundraising events for Kai, thank you all so very much for this. The funds will be necessary for Kai as he takes the long trip through rehabilitation.

"We are also in the process of aligning with a wonderful organisation called Road 2 Recovery. "This is the organisation that helped Sam Willoughby through difficult times over the past few years. Expect to see some communication from R2R in the future."

Kai has always been positive in the face of adversity. The quote below is from an Instagram post he made on 11 October 2019, it seems to be relevant now too.

"Thank you all for your continued support! We'll keep moving forward."


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