Paralysed Jansson has no regrets

KIM Jansson has no regrets about devoting his life to speedway despite being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Elvin King

KIM Jansson has no regrets about devoting his life to speedway despite being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

A special meeting for the 27-year-old former Ipswich Evening Star Witches rider takes place at Foxhall Stadium tonight (start 7.30pm), and his parents are coming over for the occasion.

Jansson was paralysed from the chest down following a crash in his native Sweden in August, and he said today:

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“I would do everything the same all over again.

“I have no regrets and have loved my life. I will work this out.”

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And typical of his approach to life he says that he is more fortunate than some.

He went on: “In a strange way I feel lucky. There are people in hospital with me who can only blink.

“And those who have seen my crash say that I went head first into the fence.

“I could easily have broken my neck, instead of my back.”

Jansson says that it is the support of so many people that has helped him come to terms with his injuries.

This week he spent a few hours at his parents' house to acclimatise to life once he leaves hospital, and he says that his thoughts tonight will be centred on England.

“It has been tough some days, and the support I have received through cards, messages and financial help has helped me get through,” said Jansson.

“I have to stress this, and I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody in Ipswich from the management and officials to the team and, most importantly, Witches supporters.

“I have to accept what has happened and keep on fighting, and it is too soon to decide what my future will be.

“After a few weeks you can tell after this type of injury how you are going to spend the rest of your life, and there are not going to be any improvements for me.”

Jansson is not bitter over his accident, but feels it is sad that it needed an injury like his to improve safety regulations at Swedish League tracks.

“Air fences are going to be installed and this is a start,” he added.

“You should not have to risk your life every time you race a speedway bike. It is a sport, after all, and the potential sacrifices should not be that high.

“In Formula One, they have horrendous crashes, yet the drivers just walk away these days. Similar safety provisions should be made in speedway. When you hit trouble on a speedway track there is no outlet. You have no way of reducing the power quickly. You have no way of reducing the impact.

“But I have been racing motor bikes for 20 years and it was my destiny that I would end up like this.”

Jansson, who hopes to come over to Ipswich before long, is grateful for the riders taking part tonight, and in particular Witches favourite Chris Schramm, who is to have most of his body hair shaved off after being inundated with 'sponsors' pledging money for Jansson.

From the original teams for tonight's meeting, Tobi Kroner (broken finger) and Chris Harris (rib injury) have been replaced by Leigh Lanham and Olle Allen.

Two-times world champion Jason Crump has also been forced to withdraw late from the Jansson select side but Scott Nicholls returns to Foxhall to complete the Evening Star Witches side.

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