Canadian Olympic diver Alexandre Despatie has confirmed that he suffered a “small concussion” after striking his head on the board in a training accident last week.
Despatie, who has not spoken to the media since he was hurt one week ago in Spain, released an audio statement on Tuesday through Diving Canada.
“It’s really going very well,” Despatie said of his recovery. “This morning was the first morning I woke up without a headache, which is a very positive sign.”
The Laval, Que., native said he hopes to resume training in the pool “by the end of next week.”
“If things keep going the way they are, the team is very optimistic [and] so am I,” Despatie said. “I’m keeping positive in all this."
Despatie, who turned 27 on June 8, won the silver medal in the men’s three-metre springboard at the last two Olympics, and he’s again considered a medal contender at the London Games, which begin July 27.
Despatie is expected to compete in his first event on Aug. 1 — the 3m synchronized with teammate Reuben Ross. The men’s individual 3m competition starts Aug. 6.
Despatie sustained the injury on an inward 3½ dive on the springboard — for him, a routine yet high-velocity, rotating flip he has attempted thousands of times.
Diving Canada chief technical officer Mitch Geller said last week that Despatie lost his balance, failed to adjust and "grazed" his head on the edge of the board just above the hairline. The blow opened a 10-centimetre gash, which Despatie said Tuesday he has consulted a plastic surgeon about, but he was not believed to have lost consciousness.
Despatie was scheduled to compete in the Spanish Grand Prix in Madrid followed by the Italian Grand Prix in Bolzano — the final two of six events comprising FINA's Grand Prix circuit — but instead returned home to Quebec, where he’s currently recuperating.
Canada's dominant diver for a generation, Despatie burst into the spotlight as a 13-year-old at the Commonwealth Games in 1998, when he captured gold in the 10-metre platform. He went on to compete at the 2000 Olympics before winning the back-to-back 3m silver medals in 2004 and 2008.
Despatie has also won world titles in each of diving's three individual disciplines — the 1m springboard, 3m springboard and 10m platform — becoming the first diver in history to do so.
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