MADSEN: FIGHTING BACK
Leon Madsen says he will need ongoing treatment to manage back pain until the end of his career, but is determined to keep piling up points.
12 / 07 / 2020, 11:35
World No.2 Leon Madsen accepts he will need ongoing treatment to manage back pain until the end of his career, but is determined to keep piling up the points on speedway’s biggest stage.
The Czestochowa star, who lines up at home to Lublin this afternoon, has two herniated discs and underwent treatment in Bydgoszcz on June 26.
This saw nerve endings around the affected area burned away. It’s the second time since December that Madsen has undergone that procedure.
When I finish a meeting and wake up the next day, I have pain for sure. But I keep it down in the best possible way with treatments.
He hopes it will keep the pain in check as he bids to continue the red-hot form that saw him come within two points of the FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championship in 2019, winning SGP rounds in Warsaw, Cardiff and Torun along the way.
Madsen scored a maximum against Lions' potential PGE Ekstraliga play-off rivals Wroclaw just two days after treatment and continues to show huge resilience to an injury that has blighted him since last summer.
But the 31-year-old admits he will need support for the rest of his career to control the pain, before potentially undergoing surgery when he hangs up his kevlars.
He said: “It will never be really good. But I have to deal with it in the best possible way I can as long as I race speedway.
“After that, I will need a bigger operation, which I am a little bit afraid of – you never know what’s going to happen in an operation like that. At the moment, I am trying to get treatment and some pain relief once in a while so that I don’t have to think so much about it.
“I get the treatments I need and what I had recently is what I had last December. They burn the nerve endings close to your spine that send the pain to your brain. When they burn them, they cannot send the pain anymore.
“It helps a bit – not fully – but it helps, together with some pain relief. Then I can survive it and still race speedway.”
When Madsen retires, he may have to undergo an operation which sees a cage implanted between the affected discs to reduce their movement and increase stability. Golf icon Tiger Woods had similar surgery and bounced back to win the 2019 Masters title.
While it had a positive impact for Woods, Madsen admits major surgery comes with risks, especially at a time when he is in the form of his life and top of the PGE Ekstraliga averages on 2.733 points per race.
He said: “If we can keep the pain level to a minimum or in a place where I can still manage to race without a big operation, we would prefer not to do it.
“The big operation helped Tiger Woods, but you can’t be 100 percent sure how it is going to affect you.
“If it comes to a point where the pain gets too big, then obviously I would need to have some kind of operation.
“But I would prefer to wait for that until I finish my career. That is what most of the doctors have advised me to do – or at least wait as long as I can survive the pain with the different treatments.”
In addition to back treatment, last winter saw Madsen undergo an operation to remove kidney stones and another to clear troublesome metalwork from his ankle, which was dislodged by a crash last August.
While Madsen’s back still gives him some trouble, he admits racing without the ankle agony has been a huge boost.
He said: “Now I can race with more freedom and be more relaxed on the bike. That’s very, very nice and something I haven’t done for a long time. I am very happy about it and I feel very fit, strong and motivated to fight for the titles.
“When I finish a meeting and wake up the next day, I have pain for sure. But I keep it down in the best possible way with treatments.”