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Hi all,

Yesterday morning, after a quick read of the MTBR Turner forum, I went out for a sweet 2 hour solo ride on new singletracks not far from home (Yokneam, North Israel).

I got a chance to read Jod's fallen homerella story http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=153444 (Feel well Jod!!!).
I have gone through the experience of helping out fallen riders in the field, and helping them get to a hospital in the past, so Jod's story sounded as yet another medical experience - from the side of the helper/watcher - definately not from the side of the rider. I have always ridden with a good dose of "Do not underestimate the power of denial" (a fantastic quote from the movie American Beauty).

After reading JOD's misfortune, decided to wear my knee&elbow protection, be very careful as I always do on solo rides (yes sure - that the part of the denial).

30 minutes into the ride, I was on the first singletrack, stopping every now and then to get down some unrollable drop by foot, when I noticed a team of riders coming down the same singletrack and riding the drops. Fantastic - not solo any more - lets have fun... I joined the group and began jumping the drops. I am no where near an expert drop rider, but I have been practicing small drops, and but these were small to medium sized, so this was perfect territory to get better.

We found a nice 3-4 foot drop with a descending landing, jumped it, felt fantastic, and decided to jump it again. On the 2nd try, the take-of felt great, except that my weight felt a little too backwards, the air felt fantastic, landed on my rear wheel instead of the front, the front of the bike jacked down as a result, and I was suddently out of control... bike began to drift sidewards...hit a tree... and faceplanted me in the dirt.

Nothing special here - I have fallen a gazillion times before in one way or another in my 15 years of mountain biking... lets just slowly gauge the situation and put this behind me...

Well - I am on my belly, mouth full with dirt, jaw definately hurting. Back too. Nose full of blood. Hard to breath, even harder to talk. But I am fully concsious. Slowly spit the dirt out from my mouth, breathing is better but not great - lets turn around and lay on the back. Very slowly turn on to my back, and breathing improves significantly, but back aches like crazy in the thoratic spine area. Tiny check to see if I can move my head - yes, with no hurt at all, so everything is OK in the cervical area. Tiny check to see if I can move my back - EXTREME PAIN in the thoratic spine area. Extremities are OK - I can feel and can move - lets make sure it stays this way. I make sure to absolutely not move my back and ask my fellow riders to call an ambulance.

Bottom line, I found myself in the woods, with a bunch of fellow riders, with a strong suspicion that I have spine injury somewhere in the thoratic vertebrae.

Even though we were close to a resedential area, and there were quite a few cellular phones there, it took almost an hour until an ambulance was able to arrive, and almost 2 hours until I reached the hospital. The first ambulance could not get deep enough in the dirt roads, so they had to call a 4x4 ambulance. During this entire time, I was lying on my back, looking at the sky (beautiful day by the way), thanking god that my breathing was OK and that I was not in shock - 2 things which would be that much more dangerous with the amount of time that help took to arrive (over an hour).

The short trip on the stretcher to the ambulance was pretty surreal - zero control, face toward the bottom of the hill, continuous jolts due to the movement in downhill terrain. hoping the medics don't slip on the muddy terrain.. .

During the entire trip to the hospital, I continuously moved my toes with the sudden understanding that this trivial thing is oh so very precious, and that I need to make sure my back remains absolutely still until I find out whats going on there.

Once I arrived at the hospital, spinal X-ray indeed showed a suspicion of a thoratic vertebral break. But an hour later, CT cleared it - THANK GOD!!! Head, jaw with no bone breaks either, just a lot of soft tissue damage, bruises and muscular pain around the spine.

It will definately hurt in the next few days, but except for a serious fright, nothing special here.

In short - be VERY CAREFUL out there, dress for the fall (I am finally going to get myself that full-face helmet), and yes - it can happen to you.

Cheers,
Tal

P.S. 5-spot is fine. Can't wait to get back on it.
 

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Glad to hear your ok, I was feeling faint just reading that trying to imagine the pain and then you realize your messed up in side from a certain pain, real scarey stuff!
 
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