Sunday, 17 August 2008

real first aid - cyclist

This is the one of the reasons I developed a cycling first aid course, as cyclists we are always having to deal with incidents. In most instances they are minor cuts and grazes, on occasion they are a little more serious.

I rode the Grand Fondo Pinarello in Italy in July, a great cycle in the lower Dolomites with some descents but none that would be very technical which means they would be a little quicker. The start of the ride was really quick, imagine 3000 cyclists being shot out of a huge cannon. Absolute madness. The first 10 or 15km were really fast and having started at the front of the ride, I spent most of those first km sliding back through the groups, leaving me behind a large number of cyclist when we hit the first ascent. I took the inside line and crawled my way back past a few of the slower ones.

The course was undulating to start and then we had our first descent, nothing major but with the field still packed with large numbers of cyclists, it can be a bit tricky. I was just getting into a smooth speed downhill when I the familiar "whoa" from the cyclists ahead. I slowed my speed moving off to the left of the road to let any nutters pass me if they wanted to. As I rounded the bend there was a cyclist wrapped around the base of a tree with two cyclists looking at his feet.

That was definitely the wrong end to be looking at in this scenario. So I slowed down, popped my bike down and grabbed the gloves out of my back pocket. Going around the head end, I needed to see what I was dealing with.

The cyclist was wrapped firmly around the tree, but lucky for me he was still making some sounds, so I knew he was breathing. I took control of his head and tried to find someone who could understand English. No luck. I also had the added problem of trying to prevent the other 2 cyclists from turning the injured person over. I was unable to undo the chin strap on the helmet so waited for the paramedics to arrive. My primary job was to keep the cyclist still and to make sure he was still breathing as he was bleeding from the mouth. Again I was lucky in that his mouth was in a draining position and I didn't need to move him.

Help arrived in the form of the paramedics with a spinal board. I was struggling to communicate with them, so handed over to them to board up and move the cyclist.

I contacted the organisers after the event to enquire about the cyclist and he was still in hospital with a "serious back problem". I was very glad I stopped to assist, even if it was only to prevent the 2 bystanding cyclists from moving the cyclist. Was I glad I had those gloves in my back pocket as well.

Peta McSharry
First Aid Trainer
July 2008

No comments: