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Old 03-10-2012, 11:48 PM   #1
malignity OP
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Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Sanford, MI
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My brutal accident (old accident long since healed)

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures or anything (other than scars if anyone wants to see them) but I've got quite the accident story that I figured I'd share since I'm slowly integrating myself into the ADV community. I've been riding since I was 5, and at 14, we were preparing for a hare scramble up by Black Mountain area in northern Michigan. I had just unloaded my 1981 Yamaha YZ250H from the trailer and was the first one to start up my bike and warm it up. There's quite a bit of a loop around at the parking lot, so to warm up the bike I decided to take a quick zip around the loop. Though not marked, it's typically known that traffic goes in a counter clockwise manner, and I took off the right way down the fire trail. Unbenounced to me, my dad's friend's son was second to get off the trailer with his KDX200, and decided to go to the 'wrong' way.

Enjoying the 90 degree day of June 20th, 1999 (ironically, my mom's birthday), I flew around the loop around one of the blind corners; the summer overgrowth concealing what was behind the bend. As I came around the corner in 4th, I didn't get much of a chance to react to the green KDX coming right at me; as it blended in with the green of the forest. Though I hugged the far right, so did he, and we met head on; with my front tire hitting his foot peg.

Though I don't remember the impact itself, the first thing I do remember while sprawled out on my back (other than the excruciating pain in my leg) was 'holy shit, I have a stick through my wrist.' Not knowing the first thing about first aid at the age of 14, I figured I had better pull it out since it had created a massive lump under my skin at the top of my forearm. As I lifted my arm off the ground, my forearm slumped and about folded in half. Eyes wide, I used my other arm to straighten my forearm and slowly rest it back down to the ground.

A few minutes later, another rider passed and saw some of the wreckage. I called to him for help, and he zipped around the loop and got my dad as well as the other 15+ riders that were there that day. They came, and I remember the first thing I asked my dad was "So I guess this means we're not riding today?" He laughed and said no, only because he knew I couldn't see how bad of shape my femur/leg was in.

The others all gathered around the other rider with the exception of my dad because he was unconscious, and at first presumed to be dead. I asked my dad if I had broken my leg, and he said yes, masking the true damage done to it. We waited patiently for the ambulances to arrive, and it took them 95 minutes to reach us through the back roads, partially due to the rugged terrain and because we were on the edge of two counties and the ambulance companies were arguing on who was going to get us.

I remember becoming extremely slap happy and was laughing hysterically at the flies fighting over the blood on my arm. I realize now, with a medical background, that shock and blood loss had kicked in.

On my way to the hospital, I ended up bleeding out and needed an emergency blood transfusion. I remember simply 'falling asleep', and then suddenly I had the ambulance crew over me and I had a massive jugular IV catheter in my neck. We got to the hospital, where I was hooked up to more blood and was beginning to stabilize. The other rider had reached the hospital (Petoskey Hospital, for you Michiganders) and had gotten into surgery before me. Being that there was only one orthopedic trauma surgeon in the entire hospital, I had to wait for him to get done... 7 hours.

I remember a short time later the ambulance crew bringing in a large zip lock bag with a piece of bone about the size of a baseball in it. They had said "We found this embedded in the green bike's headlight." I proudly claimed the bone as mine, as it was my knee that had hit the headlight. It was the only thing I could do to keep my spirits up, as the ER doctor had told me only moments earlier that I was likely going to lose my arm below the elbow and possibly my leg above the knee as well. At the age of 14, I couldn't even begin to imagine how to handle such news.

Anyway, to make a long story shorter, I didn't lose any limbs. I spent 28 days in the hospital, 3 months learning how to walk again, and 2 years of physical therapy learning to walk without a limp. I ended up having a compound open bone fracture in both my left radius and ulna (I'm a lefty, so this was wonderful) and also in my left femur and patella. I had bled out in the ambulance because my femur had ripped through my leg about an inch and a half away from my femoral artery. I ended up having 2 external pins in my ulna, 1 plate and 7 screws in my left radius, and 2 plates and 9 screws in my femur, along with a 17 inch battle scar on my leg.

Immediately after getting home, my first thought was fixing my bike. I was still in a wheel chair, but I was hell bent on fixing it. Coming from a family that rides and starting at the age of 5 with both parents also riders, it was in my blood, and the only thing I could think of was whether or not I'd be able to ride again. That determination is what drove me to heal. I remember being a tool fetcher in my wheelchair for my dad as he replaced my entire front end on my bike.

In early December, though still using a cane to walk, I decided to take my first ride since my accident on my personal track I had made at my parents house. My mom watched intently from the home window knowing that it probably wasn't a good idea for me to be on the bike yet, and her concern was valid. As I came around the first bend, I hit a patch of ice under some moss on the ground and my bike slid out from under me, landing on my healing leg. She came rushing to my aid as I laid there thinking "I just re-broke my damn leg."

Needless to say, I retired the bike until spring the next year. :)

To this day, I still ride, albeit a bit more carefully. I kept the 1981 Yamaha YZ250H for 13 years, and sold it last year for my first street bike. Truth be told, as much as I liked riding the street, I was still a dirt biker at heart. I couldn't afford multiple bikes, so if I could only have one, it needed to be able to do everything; which is what lead me to buy my 2004 Honda XR650L that I picked up two weeks ago. So far, I love the bike, and it reminds me exactly of my old YZ and balances and handles exactly like it despite weighing a hundred pounds more.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:26 AM   #2
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Oh my god Hows the other guy? That's insane.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:19 AM   #3
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He ironically broke his leg almost identical to me. Since he had the use of both arms, he only stayed in the hospital a week or so and was discharged on crutches.

I forgot to mention, the reason I'm against bark busters is because that's what broke my arm so badly. On impact, my hand lost connection with the handlebar and got caught in the cusp of the bark buster it spun around facing the other way, and it used my handlebar as leverage to break my arm.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:51 AM   #4
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recovery

Quote:
Originally Posted by malignity View Post
He ironically broke his leg almost identical to me. Since he had the use of both arms, he only stayed in the hospital a week or so and was discharged on crutches.

I forgot to mention, the reason I'm against bark busters is because that's what broke my arm so badly. On impact, my hand lost connection with the handlebar and got caught in the cusp of the bark buster it spun around facing the other way, and it used my handlebar as leverage to break my arm.
I am glad that you have recovered and have the iron to ride again. I will consider the bark buster/injury connection.
I don't remember anyone having them when I ran my 72 Ossa Pioneer into a smaller bike going the other way on a field at night no headlights for either in 1976 or 77 ,I broke 6 bones in my left hand and ruined the cast by riding too soon.
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Old 03-11-2012, 01:14 PM   #5
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damn, that's a good argument for one-way only tracks. glad you healed enough to get back on two wheels....
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:08 AM   #6
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Helluva story; well-told, too. I shiver at the thought of my own 14yr old waiting 1.5hrs for an ambulance, then losing consciousness on the ride.....not to mention the notion of losing limbs.
Glad you're still with us -- even if you're just now joining the asylum!
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:19 AM   #7
O.C.F.RIDER
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malignity View Post

I forgot to mention, the reason I'm against bark busters is because that's what broke my arm so badly. On impact, my hand lost connection with the handlebar and got caught in the cusp of the bark buster it spun around facing the other way, and it used my handlebar as leverage to break my arm.
THAT'S the reason why you're supposed to keep bark-busters sort of facing in a bit of a "downward" angle, the hand comes out a lot easier! Bark-busters have saved me from getting a mangled hand MANY times.

Chris
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O.C.F.RIDER screwed with this post 03-13-2012 at 06:25 AM
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:56 PM   #8
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I almost had that same accident about a dozen times. Got lucky though. A friend though didn't and ended up similar to you. A mass of pulp in an emergency room. Glad your's still typing.
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O.C.F.RIDER View Post
THAT'S the reason why you're supposed to keep bark-busters sort of facing in a bit of a "downward" angle, the hand comes out a lot easier! Bark-busters have saved my from getting a mangled hand MANY times.

Chris

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