Canadian Olympic diver Alexandre Despatie, who’s recovering from a concussion suffered when he struck his head on the board in a training accident, says he’s headache-free but has yet to resume diving.
The Laval, Que., native provided an update on his condition in an audio file released Tuesday by Diving Canada.
“It’s been four days since I started physical activity again. Things are going great,” Despatie said.
“I haven’t had a headache in five days, even though we’re increasing the training, which is a really good sign.”
Despatie disclosed last week that he sustained a “small concussion” on June 13 in Madrid when he struck his head on the diving board while practicing for a Grand Prix event.
The two-time Olympic silver medallist 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.
In addition to causing a concussion, the blow opened a 10-centimetre gash on Despatie’s head.
“This afternoon I’m taking out the stitches and the metal clamps, so the scar and wound is no longer a concern for the medical team as well as myself,” Despatie said in Tuesday’s statement.
Despatie didn’t say when he’d resume diving, but described that upcoming step as “the biggest test in my rehab, mentally and physically.”
Despatie said only that he would “go one step at a time and make sure that everything goes the way it should be.”
Last Tuesday, Despatie said he hoped to be diving again "by the end of next week."
The injury has altered Despatie’s preparations for the London Olympics, where he’s slated to first compete on Aug. 1 in the men’s three-metre springboard synchronized event with teammate Reuben Ross. Despatie is also entered in the three-metre individual competition on Aug. 6.
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 back-to-back silver medals in the individual three-metre springboard in both 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.