Long run Sunday, so that means another jaunt through the park so I can get in the mileage. Everything was going great, and I was locked in a nice zone. That is I was until a poor fellow on a bicycle went ass over teakettle over his handlebars right next to me. I immediately put on the brakes and rushed over to see if I could help him out. Blood everywhere, missing teeth, and minor shock. As a few other cyclists came over to see what they could do, I told one of the injured fellow’s companions to go get ice and napkins from a vendor which is basically the equivalent of those scenes in movies where a gentleman is told to boil some water and gather some towels when a woman goes into labor. The tasks aren’t very useful, but they give the guy something to do. I guided the fellow over to a bench so he could sit down and then went and got his bike out of the road. By then someone with a phone was dialing 911, and after telling his companions to let the paramedics know where in the park they were I resumed my run.
Moments later I felt a little guilty, but I didn’t feel there was much else I could do. Looking back I suppose I could have used my water to start irrigating his wound a bit, but I didn’t think about that until I was long gone, and, really, is that the right thing to do for that kind of injury? Not only did I not know the right course of action in this case, but I realized I don’t know much first aid at all. Mostly that’s not a problem; I can count on one hand the number of times in my life I’ve been on the scene for an accident like this one. But, especially as a distance runner I should probably brush up on my first aid skills and have a better sense of what to do in case someone goes down in front of me on the racecourse, for example. We can’t always wait for the cavalry to come in to help us out, and sometimes dealing with an injured runner or cyclist requires more than just a walk over to a park bench.
flickr photo by jmv