Accidents happen no matter what we do. We can preach safe riding, we can lecture until we are blue in the face but the reality is accidents happen in our sport. If we are lucky we end up with some road rash and perhaps a bruised ego.
Sometimes we are not so lucky. We have seen a lot over the years. Broken collar bones are a common injury as are concussions. The injured often seem more concerned with the health of their bike than their own. Shock is an amazing bodily response that numbs the pain for a short time and also appears to prevent the injured from some rational thinking.
In 2009 Natasha Richardson, an actress and wife to actor Liam Neeson, died as a result of a concussion following a minor ski fall at Mont Tremblant. She just wanted to go lie down in her hotel room and did not want to make a fuss.
Perhaps it is publicity and or your actual experience of long waits in the emergency room but please listen to the ambulance attendants or paramedics when they strongly urge you to go to the emergency room. Going home, showering, and lying down on the couch may sound better than sitting in an ER for 4 hours but contrary to popular belief, most ER’s in the Montreal area have an excellent triage system. If you are brought in by an ambulance you are seen by the triage nurse a lot quicker than if you walk into the ER.
If you do decide to go home first please do not drive yourself home. When the shock wears off you may have a sudden drop in blood pressure, become unconscious at the wheel of the car and get into even worse trouble. Please allow someone to drive you home or take a taxi.
al clinics and ER’s are always busier Sunday night or Monday morning with people who waited to see if the pain would go away. If you were a triage nurse and you had to decide who gets to see the doctor first. Who would you send in first:
a) Someone who had an accident 1 hour ago, their jersey is all torn, blood is everywhere and they are shaking a bit when trying to pull out their medicare card
b) Someone who said the accident occurred two days ago and they now say they can not stand the pain anymore.
If you have broken a bone, you may need surgery. Going home, showering, having something to eat will only delay when that surgery can occur. Waiting a week before a bone can be properly set is also not a good idea.
So if the ambulance attendants are strongly urging you to go to the hospital then please take the free ride. They are not suggesting it just for the fun of it. Don’t grin and bear it and hope that it will go away on its own. Even if you have only minor injuries, waiting in an ER is still better than passing out on your couch at home where you may be too far away from the phone to call 911