While biking back into the Mount along Marine Parade at Mt Maunganui on Saturday the 23rd of June, I had a motorist come from the other side of the road and T-bone me. It sent me flying up into their windscreen as they turned into Tay street.
My whole right side of my body took the impact of the car. I believe my ankle took the force of the number plate, shin to the bumper, elbow and hip took the windscreen. This sent me rolling over the car and onto the road.
In the days following the accident I keep finding new bruises and cuts which I assume was due to the rolling. Sadly my bike (Trek Speed Concept only 6 months old,,,) did not survive cracking my frame in 3 spots and my fork in another 3 spots, derailleur un-repairably bent and wheels bent also out of shape.
Thankful due to the massive noise it created I was quickly surrounded by some awesome bystanders who were quick to call the ambulance and the police. The St Johns ambulance arrived and where awesome as they assessed me and decided it was best to take me to hospital.
At the hospital I was sent into x-rays (chest, tibia and ankle) thankfully they all came back clear!! So nothing broken which is awesome news! I was extremely lucky! Especially with the impact that I took. However, the doctor was worried about my head (possible brain bleed due to impact) so I had to stay in hospital until late that night for some medical monitoring. Thankfully I had an awesome friend that lived locally (Max) who saved me from horrific hospital food and brought me in Burgerfuel and then after waiting with me took me home.
After accidents like this I am thankful that I invest in awesome safety equipment such as my Smith Overtake Helmet. This helmet has one of the highest safety rating, and who knows what damage could have been done if I was not wearing it. Being winter and having all my skin wrapped up in my Tinelli cycling kit also saved me from what could of been some awesome road rash!
Following the accident and posting this on social media I have been blown away with all the private message, phone call and texts that totalled up to over 100 different people and this is not even including the comments across both facebook and instagram with again over another 100 people commenting. It kept me busy replying that was for sure but it was fair to say I am feeling the love! So thankful for everyone’s support!
With my focus on as quick a recovery as possible, I would like to take this next opportunity to discuss key concepts and strategies you need to be aware of to optimise your injury recovery. Obviously every accident and injury will be different but my goal with the article is to provide you with the information you need to prompt a speedy recovery if you or someone you know ends up in a similar situation
It was an accident and the sad truth of being a road cyclist is, that dangerous New Zealand roads are not equipped for us. Often drivers are unaware or not paying enough attention. We as cyclist will always pay the biggest cost because unlike motor vehicles we have little to nothing protecting us.
Unable to change the past, I can only impact the present. It would be easy to drown in my sorrows of my new injuries and now being bikeless. Instead I choose to view this as a challenge both mental and physical to overcome and get myself back on top and doing the things I love again. Those who know me well know I love a great challenge!
Let the fun begin!
With the limited time in the lead up to Triathlon Short Distance World Championships in Gold Coast this September I have no time to waste. I am well aware I am not alone in having an accident in close proximity to a race with a need for a prompt recovery. Being extremely prone to injury with my flexibility disorder some may say this a specialty of mine. Instead of keeping these trick to myself I wanted to share what I am currently implementing in my recovery.
It all begins with mindset, many people were shocked to see photos of me smiling after such an intense crash. It would be easy to get caught up in the negativity, however what would that achieve? Negative emotions get you nowhere in life if anything they hold you back. I truly believe life is a game of perspective, you always have a choice!
“No situation is good nor bad, it is how you perceive a situation that defines it”
Don’t get me wrong this can be extremely challenging at times but this is when it is even more vital! I strongly believe there is always a positive just sometimes you need to look a little harder. From the outset of the crash I had a choice, I chose to be thankful to have survived and to be surrounded by so many helpful bystanders. Not knowing the extent of my injuries it could of been easy to stress or worry. The truth was, what had been done was done, there was nothing I could do to change that so instead of stressing on the extent of my injuries I choose to express gratitude to those that where there to help.
Along with this it could of been easy to be aggressive towards the driver but what would this achieve? Nothing! I am sure, he was no doubt in just as much shock as me and well aware of his mistake. Especially as a young driver I am sure this would of had a great impact on him and will hopefully act as a lesson to be more responsible in the future, with the realisation it could of been a lot worse.
First Mistake People Make
First mistake majority of people make begins as early as the site of the accident or in the back of the ambulance. I know I was faced with it multiple times while in ambulance and in hospital. Can you guess what it is? Painkillers and more importantly anti-inflammatories! Something I never take for multiple reasons, I would much rather deal with the pain, but why? Anti-inflammatories directly impact the natural healing process of the human body and as a result drag you out the repair and recovery process! Both painkillers and anti-inflammatories are well known for damaging your gut. “But I am sore my gut can wait!” Sadly a damaged gut will increase inflammation and now your body is dealing with two sources of inflammation putting your body in a highly stressed state. High inflammation increases the stimulation of cortisol, your stress hormone. You probably get the picture by this point it is a vicious cycle of stress on stress equals chronic stress and an extremely unhealthy system.
They will push and look at you weirdly for not accepting them, this is standard practice. This is not their fault it is what they were taught but sadly this treatment is greatly outdated! Is there any place for painkillers/anti-inflammatories? Yes of course, but in my opinion only in extreme cases where pain is unbearable and the pain needs to be regulated but at all costs do your best to fight this simple urge or at least try to minimise the dose as much as possible. Not only will this allow you to be more in tune with your body but it will also speed your recovery long term.
Ice or no Ice?
The second mistake taken in early stages of a traumatic injury the application of Ice. Really Ice?? For years and years we have been preached the acronym RICED (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate & Diagnosis) for injury, in which ice is an integral part. What is the role of Ice? To reduce inflammation the body’s natural response to repair. We previously thought this inflammation process needs to be minimised but that is only going to impact our bodies natural ability to recover from an injury. The inflammation process is initiated by very potent chemicals, proteins and cells, they set off a cascade of reactions, the inflammation chemicals send a message to other cells to come to the injured area and initiate the healing process. Ice has been shown to directly impact this process and slow your healing process. Forget the ice burns, you no longer need to ice.
As for everything this is an ideal situation but if pain is too much and it comes down to anti-inflammatories and painkillers, I would prefer you use ice as it is also known to dull the pain. Instead of traditional 20 min cycles try icing for 5 minutes at a time and then leave it off for at least 30 minutes to allow the blood flow to return to the area. After a few hours the ice will no longer be effective in managing the swelling and should be avoided.
Get Checked Up
Final key mistake I see in the initial phase is the classic kiwi mentality, “She’ll be alright!” and refusing to get properly checked up, to identify the extent of the damage. I know I have been shocking for this in the past and it just slows everything down! After any accident it is always worth getting checked over by a doctor to be sure or for your peace for mind of broken bones or internal bleeding etc. Soft tissue (ligament & muscle strains) are much more difficult to assess post incident and often have to wait for inflammation to subside. However, it is important to note there is an immediate window post injury (5 min post incident) which is the perfect time for assessment if possible as the inflammation response has not kicked in and started to restrict the range of movement. If anyone is on hand that is qualified to complete clinical assessments this can be an extremely valuable tool to offer greater insight into injury. After this period I always suggest you head in and get things checked out by a specialist. Keep in mind after the 5 min period inflammation has normally set in making it near impossible to complete a thorough clinical assessment of tissue damage. Depending on injury and level of inflammation a general rule of when to book in with your Osteopath or Physio for an injury assessment is not to wait for the inflammation to subside before heading in so that the can truly assess the damage. Unless you need pain management or alignment you can head in sooner if this is the case as they are able to help. They just won’t be able to give you definitive extent of your injury.
In the next post I will discuss my road to recovery, discussing key strategies that I am currently implementing to promote a fast recovery.