The Team GB decathlete Ben Gregory is on life support after being involved in a serious cycling accident.
Gregory, 31, who has represented Wales at three Commonwealth Games – Delhi 2010, Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 – is in a coma after suffering a fractured skull and neck and brain haemorrhages.
Writing on social media, Gregory’s girlfriend, Naomi Heffernan, said: “Ben was in a serious bike accident. He has a fractured skull, neck and multiple haemorrhages to his brain. He’s in a coma and on life support.
“I’ve never felt so scared, helpless and sick to the stomach. Ben needs your positive thoughts and prayers right now. Those who know Ben know how strong he is mentally and physically. He’s a fighter and he’ll get through this.
“Please pray for him and send all the positive energy and thoughts you can muster.”
Before forging a successful career in track and field athletics, Gregory began his sporting career in youth rugby union, playing for London Wasps Academy, and later studied at Loughborough University while pursuing athletics professionally.
As an athlete, Gregory placed sixth in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, where he set a new Commonwealth pole vault record, and went on to set a new personal best after placing sixth again at the games in Glasgow in 2014. He also holds a Welsh national record, which he set in 2016 after winning the Mount Sax Relays Decathlon. Gregory also works as a model, signed to W Model Management in London, and as personal trainer and coach.
Messages of support for Gregory have been shared on social media by fellow athletes. Former world champion hurdler Dai Greene said: “Sad to hear the news about Ben Gregory. Hoping he pulls through. One of the nicest and most positive people I’ve had the pleasure to be around at the track; keep fighting, Ben.”
The chief executive of Welsh Athletics, James Williams, said: “Sending my prayers to Ben Gregory, one of the nicest and most genuine individuals I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Keep fighting, pal, we are all praying for you.”
In another tweet, Stephen Morris, a retired double Paralympian, said: “Thoughts on Ben Gregory. I am hoping he pulls through. One of the nicest guys I’ve meet during my athletics days. Keep fighting, Ben.”
Welsh Athletics issued a statement saying: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ben’s friends and family at this time.
“Ben’s accomplishments as an athlete speak for themselves: Wales’s greatest ever decathlete – three Commonwealth Games, the Welsh record holder, and representing Wales and Great Britain multiple times.
“The outpouring of support across social media is testament to his popularity as a person and as an athlete. Everyone who has had the privilege of training or competing alongside Ben will speak of his incredible love of life, his kindness, support and loyalty.
“We will all continue to pray for a full recovery for Ben.”
In October 2020, Gregory was involved in another cycling accident. At the time, he said he escaped serious injuries as he was wearing a helmet and used the opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of doing so.
He posted pictures of the damaged helmet on social media, adding: “They do a job & they’re inexpensive when you think about what the alternative would be. Pick up a helmet when you ride a bike, just the same as you’d put a seatbelt on in a car. Be safe. Grateful to be in one piece after the collision on Monday. Thank you all so much for all the well wishes and support. It’s been a tough week, but definitely on the road to recovery.”