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Old 05-15-09, 10:50 AM   #1
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Looking for Post Accident Advice

My father was recently in a pretty serious cycling accident. While out on his long Sunday ride he hit a patch of gravel going downhill around 30 mph. He ended up with lots of broken bones (collar bone, skull fracture, 5 ribs, and shoulder blade) and lots of road rash and bruises. Needless to say he is in serious pain and we don't expect him to get back out there anytime soon. He's been an avid tri-athlete for years, so it's really getting him down not being able to do any sort of exercise. I am beginning to worry about depression, so I was hoping to get some advice from other cyclists about anything I can do to lift his spirits.

Has anyone else experienced a similar situation? Are there good books or movies to get him motivated and back to his optimistic self? Any suggestions are welcomed. Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 05-15-09, 10:57 AM   #2
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First off, I am sorry to hear of your father's accident and uplifted that you are willing to help him. Depression is a very deceptive thing, and many suffering from it, do not even know they have it.

You know your father better than any of us, so motivational ideas are tough. How is his bike? Is it repairable? Does he enjoy working on it and is he able to work on it? If so, maybe you could get him to start fixing the bike back up.

Does he have riding buddies, a club, a team? Turn to those guys. Maybe they can stop by, talk about recent rides, etc.

Best of luck.
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Old 05-15-09, 11:07 AM   #3
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Pick up some good reading material for him... cycling of course. Consider having his bike worked on by his friends or a shop HE trusts.
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Old 05-15-09, 11:31 AM   #4
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Reading materials, games you can play while with him (cards etc.), and just being there for him are the best things you can do for him right now. Its great that you are able to help him during this period. Please let him know that we are thinking about him and adding him to our prayers for a quick and full recovery.
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Old 05-15-09, 11:36 AM   #5
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sorry to hear that. I hope his recovery is fast and complete.

I have no sage advice beyond saying he is lucky to have a great daughter. Be there for him; that's a lot in & of itself.
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Old 05-15-09, 11:41 AM   #6
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Sorry to hear about his crash. Just be supportive and make sure that he gets quality physical therapy. Maybe talk to him about goals he may have after he's able to get back on the bike. Good reading material is good advice, he's lucky to have a daughter concerned about him. I'd suggest some books, but most of my stuff is mountain bike related. Tell him to heal up, soon, maybe show him this thread.
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Old 05-15-09, 11:41 AM   #7
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Tour video's and cycling documentaries.

He'll learn some good history while he's in bedrest.

I was in a bad crash last year, and I was on youtube all the time watching videos.

A sunday in hell, giro d'italia, tour de france, etc. Lots to choose from.

Tell him to heal fast and get back out there!
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Old 05-15-09, 12:44 PM   #8
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As was said above, books, books, books, videos, cardgames, etc.

Spend time with him, get his riding buddies over to be talk about riding with him, get him looking towards the future when he can ride again, little goals he can work towards.

When I was laid up with a pretty solid rugby injury a couple years ago, many of my friends came and visited me and brought me down to watch games, etc. It got me excited and read y to go play again. If there are local tris/races, get him down to watch the races, etc.

Wishing him the best of luck, waiting to heal is the worst.
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Old 05-15-09, 02:09 PM   #9
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get him this book, unless he has it already:
Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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Old 05-15-09, 02:37 PM   #10
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The Giro has been underway for a week now. Universal Sports (on some cable carriers) is carrying it. Not sure if watching people able to ride is going to help, or make your dad more focused on his injuries though.

For now, I'd recommend just keeping him comfortable and letting him know that you care by spending time with him and talking. A few things are more powerful than love of a sport, and caring children are one of them.

p.s. - I gather that his bike and/or gear was damaged also. Father's day is coming up, and getting him something to replace what was damaged would be an appreciated gesture.
In search of what to search for.
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Old 05-15-09, 02:53 PM   #11
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What city is he in?
Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post

What's frightening is how coherent Hickey was in posting that.
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Old 05-15-09, 06:06 PM   #12
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If he likes Science Fiction, here's a great link.....the Baen Free Library. Baen Books makes a large number of their catalogue available to read and even download with no strings attached other than do not sell them, but you can give away unlimted copies, apparently in various formats from Pocket Reader to Richtext. I only suggest this because it doesn't cost anything and will help keep his mind occupied and boredom staved off.

All that said, here's hoping for a speedy recovery.
. He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.- Fredrick Nietzsche

"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant
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Old 05-16-09, 01:15 PM   #13
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Get him to log onto this forum and tell us about his pain, and all his cycling advice.
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Old 05-16-09, 05:59 PM   #14
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Have gone down my share of times, the last time a couple of offroading trees ended my ride and took out some ribs and lung.

First things first though - the question method (and I have not read everyone's posts either).

1) So how's the bike?

2) So how is he now?

Here's hoping your father is back up and riding soon!!!!!
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Old 05-16-09, 09:16 PM   #15
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Being down and out about what happened and the shape he is in would be a fairly normal response. And, hopefully, transient.
He hasn't been told that he won't be able to get back on the bike, has he? As a tri guy, he will likely be a good candidate for and be engaged in his physical therapy and rehab.
I possibly/maybe cracked a rib more than ten years ago and still remember how uncomfortable that was. Can't imagine how badly 5 actual broken ribs plus all the other injuries must hurt.
Tip from a nurse: If he is taking opiate pain meds, he needs to increase his fluid and fiber intake.

Good that he has a daughter right there to help him.
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Old 05-17-09, 02:15 AM   #16
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Make things as back-to-normal as can be done. Can the bicycle be made as good (or better) than it was pre-accident? Do it. Or ask everyone he and you knows to chip in - get him a new bike. Regards his depression, I'd be more concerned if he wasn't suffering from this. And don't let the doctor put him on Prozac or Paxil or any of the SSRI-class antidepressants. These are sold by the drug companies under a barrage at doctors in the form of advertising. They can just as well lead to suicidal ideation as they can be helpful. One of the older antidepressants would likely be better.*

Reading material is always a good gift. Has he read Zinn? Maybe a copy of one of his books would inspire him to look to the future of flying down the roads/trails as he had been doing. Does he have other hobbies and/or interests? Feed them with some material as well. Depression is mostly a waring from a person's subconscious that something isn't right. Sleeping and dreaming help facilitate the unconscious to integrate the message. This is complex psychology. If you want/need to understand more - drop me a pm. Anger is the flip-side. So if Dad starts getting angry - don't dispair. Anger is a healthy sign that his depression is lifting.

So get as much done to facilitate his being re-assured that his life will return to normal - bike, books, hobbies, etc. I think you're a very special person to tackle this task! Bravo! Your dad raised you right - somehow! A lot of kids would grab his wallet and head for Disneyland. As for you, once Dad is up & running, plan a decent get-away for yourself.

* - I'm also a research psychologist - as well as a bike-nut/mechanic. Feel free to contact me through these forums if I can be of assistance.
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Old 05-17-09, 10:39 PM   #17
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I don't want to seem like Im talking about myself so keep in mind Im just getting to a point.
While in the army, in 2006 I lost my right leg, and broke my left calcanus(the worst, the heel weight bearing bone you rarely recover from breaking), femur, pelvis, back, and talus. I was a highly ranked mountain biker before and my first thought was "Ill never be able to race bikes or go hiking and backpacking(my other passions) again.
Thankfully, groups like Achilles, Disabled Sports USA, and Challenged Athletes Foundation came to the hospital and helped me and the other wounded out of our funk.
Look them up..they are full of biographies of injured athletes who came back and overcame incredible injuries.
I met Timmy Duggan from Garmin Chipotle last year. Incredibly nice guy who suffered a massive head injury two years ago and is coming back strong.
Dory Selinger lost a leg by getting hit by a car while on his bike, and came back to win gold in the paralympics in track cycling.
Look up those websites and print out the bios of the various athletes. Show them to your father.
I am in my second year back at triathlon and my first year back at bike racing, and while I am still building strength, I am getting stronger every week.
The body will heal on its own, but it is up to the mind to overcome the doubt, depression, fear, and aprenhension. There is no easy way, but many, many athletes have paved the way in the past. If he has the will to get back into it, there is plenty of inspiration to tap into.
Feel free to PM me and I will give you my email or phone number and I might be able to help. I work with wounded soldiers and Marines getting them back into athletic competition and I have been there myself. I am still there myself.
I actually had a race this morning where I started to get really down on myself, and really doubting my ability to still race. The strength has to come from the mind, and has to come along to overcome that doubt.
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Old 05-18-09, 04:10 AM   #18
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How about sun exposure? Maybe he's missing that.

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Old 05-18-09, 09:22 AM   #19
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Thank you all so much for all the great advice and suggestions!!! Unfortunately, I live two states away from my family, so I am unable to spend as much time with him as I would like (which is where I'm beginning to feel a lot of guilt about needing to do something since I can't be there all the time in person). I think I am headed to see him this weekend so I will be able to get together a nice care package for him with all your ideas. My appreciation is overwhelming.
Being such a bike enthusiast his first instinct was to save the bike, so of course he took the brunt of the crash and his bike hardly has a scratch (though a new helmet may be in order) I spoke with him for a long time this weekend and he appears to be doing all right. I can hear the sadness in his voice when he talks about all the races he had scheduled this season that he can't attend. But there is slight hope when he talks about possibly returning to work for a few days next week - I think getting back to some sort of routine will help tremendously. He's been taking walks around the block lately, and though this does cause him some pain (the natural swing of his shoulder when walking is painful) I think he appreciates being back outside.
Again, thank you so very much for your help. Please continue to post any ideas or suggestions that may come to mind. It's going to be a long road of recovery and I hope to do anything to help keep him on that path.
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Old 06-02-09, 06:16 PM   #20
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I had some similar injuries back in 2004. It was very tough to find a position to sleep with a broken clavicle and scapula. He probably isn't getting enough quality sleep so I highly suggest saved me. If his injuries are like mine, he will get more range of motion every day and that will be encouraging. As soon as he can get on a trainer for some short spins, that should help too. I read "The Race" & "The Tour" during my recovery, that helped. I also recommend buying or renting the Ironman World Championship DVD's for him.
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Old 06-03-09, 07:29 PM   #21
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Good on your dad for wearing a good helmet.

When I dislocated my shoulder and couldn't ride for a long time, I bought myself two things -- first, a copy of Dance Dance Revolution (a dancing video game) and a cruiser-style bike to allow myself to ease back into things. No idea if that's a good idea for your dad or not, but hopefully it'll give you some ideas.
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Old 06-21-09, 09:11 PM   #22
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I'm glad he wasn't killed in the accident. Like the posters above, get him material to read or watch to keep his mind off of his injuries. If at all possible, get him outside in the sun. The sun has both psychological and physiological effects. Short-term anti-depressants may also help - even herbal ones such as St. John's Wort - if you doctor talks it over with him and thinks that it may help. Most of all, try to keep him positive. It sounds a bit cliche' but he lived through the accident. That, in itself, is something to be thankful for. Good luck.
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Old 06-22-09, 07:08 PM   #23
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See if you can locate a good sports oriented physical therapist and tell them what's going on. They will be more aggressive if they know he is an athlete and will push him a little harder when he is able to start rehab.

Once he's able to start doing activity, find a pool where he can do rehab treatment. All open wounds, incisions, etc, will have to be healed before he can go into the water, but it is a good activity that will support his weight and the water will act as resistance.

Besides a stationary bicycle, there is what is called an upper body ergometer, which is basically a stationary crank-set pedaled by the arms. This will help him to keep in shape. Sometimes you can use a stationary bike and sit behind it to pedal.

Usually, one of the first activities they will have him do is isometric exercises, such as leg contractions without movement, arm contractions, etc. Then he can progress to straight leg raises, etc once the pain has subsided.

So there's lots of activities that will help him to stay in good physical condition. Just push him to see a physical therapist and check with his doctor to see what he can do and what restrictions he has. He should be busy enough with the rehab he won't have time to think about being depressed.
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Old 06-23-09, 05:53 AM   #24
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He may be able to take a recumbent trainer sooner than a standard bike. Or if he has a trainer already, get him a cheap recumbent to go with it. Anything to get him exercising again!
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Old 06-23-09, 10:52 AM   #25
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3 syllables


(it works, but when I used this for 2 days I ended up flushing 12 of them down
the crapper because the side effects are bogus. rather live with pain than
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