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Our Fellow Triathlete

Many of you have asked for updates on the cyclist, Kirsten, who was injured at the race on Sunday. I do not know her personally, but because of the blog, I have been in contact with a family member, a cyclist who was there on the scene and I spoke briefly with her husband.

What Happened:
On the bike course – on that last screaming downhill before Peachtree Industrial Boulevard – one of the riders heard a crash behind her, turned to look and saw Kirsten on the ground. The rider ran up the hill to Kirsten and she, along with a few others including an ER nurse who stopped, immediately began to work to help Kirsten.  No one that I have spoken with knows precisely what happened to cause the crash.  We do know that the tire was flat and the wheel removed by those who assisted her – in order to help Kirsten out of her bike – the tube had to be deflated to release from the brakes and the front wheel removed, because she was entangled in the bike from the impact.

Kudos to the Iron Girl race officials – they made it to the scene BEFORE the police or emergency vehicles.

By the time the emergency responders arrived, at least three athletes, one of whom was the ER nurse and another trained in emergency first response, had helped to stablize Kirsten.  The rider who stopped said that the ER Nurse had the situation completely under control – even when there was difficulty with Kirsten’s pulse, the ER nurse was able to get that pulse to return. [*This is just an account of one individual in an emergency situation, so bear that in mind.]

What Next:
Kirsten has experienced broken bones and a traumatic brain injury. I learned from one of her close friends that she had surgery on Sunday evening. As an update, her vitals are looking good right now and she can move both arms and both legs.

The doctors performed an assessment just a few hours ago to see if Kirsten’s  breathing tube could be removed. They wanted Kirsten to be able to follow COMPLEX COMMANDS. Meaning “Kirsten, raise your arm and show me one finger.” At this time, she is not able to do this – she was only able to follow one of the commands, such as raising the arm. The doctor reported that things are “good, but concerned.”  She also has a small blood clot on her left side, but it is not presenting any threat.

After speaking with her husband this evening, they have learned that she has experienced trauma to both sides of her brain and possibly the temporal lobe. Right now everyone is playing a waiting game and hoping.

What is Needed:
I contacted Kirsten’s husband to find out what we could do. I have this blog and I should darn well use it for something other than complaining.

“Nothing right now, but pray in the morning, in the afternoon and at night,” he said.

So that’s what we’ll do -sending prayers for Kirsten and her family. The big prayers right now are for her to perform complex commands in order that the breathing tube can be removed.

This story hits close to home for me… as I am sure it does with any of you who ride a bike and participate in triathlon.  

We all get wrapped up in racing, in speed and in pushing forward – sometimes we need a reminder how dangerous this sport can be… how we must always remember that we are human racers… and stopping to assist Our Fellow Triathlete may just save her life.


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