Whether or not we want to think about it, we take the chance of getting injured every time we ride. That's just part of the sport we love, and nobody is immune to it. Whether it's you or a friend that crashes, wishing in that moment that you knew what to do is too late. Time after time we see accidents, and the response of the riders friends, family, or even track personnel makes us shake our heads. Another one of these moments over this past weekend prompted us to do this article. We have outlined 5 simple tips that you need to know in case someone goes down that could save their life!
NEVER take the riders helmet off! This may seem like common sense to some, but we see it constantly! This even includes taking goggles off. Until you have assessed the situation and their is no evidence of head, neck, or back injury, never move the head area. Some people's reaction is to give the rider more air, but moving their head prematurely can cause paralysis. If you're not sure, just don't do it!
NEVER move the rider! If the rider cannot move themselves, do not move them. This goes along with #1 but differs slightly. We see this one all the time with younger riders. The rider goes down, the parent runs out to the rider (which in itself is a bad idea most of the time), and their first reaction is to pick them up and carry them off of the track. This is a terrible idea. This too can cause paralysis and sometimes worse. Especially in children. Assess the situation, stay calm, and then react.
If you're helping a downed rider, whether it be your buddy or someone you've never met, and your gut tells you something could be serious, get them help. We hear riders say all the time not to call an ambulance because they don't have insurance. This applies mostly to head and internal injuries. If you think they may have something wrong, get the help anyway. What someone thinks is just a light concussion can turn into brain bleeding. Same goes for internal pains. These things can turn fatal in just a few hours. You don't need insurance to get medical attention, and yes it can be expensive but most hospitals will work with you on ways to pay.
Before going riding, ask your buddies to jot down a phone number to call in case they get hurt. This could be their parents or husband/wife, anyone who would know their medical history and who should be notified if they crash. This will seem silly to some until the situation arises and it's too late.
Never ride alone. This becomes most important when riding private tracks. Never ride alone, and never let a friend ride by themselves. Laying injured in the middle of a field for hours until somebody comes is never fun.
Please read, remember, and share this article. Because you never know when you may need it!