House Call: Treating critical bicycle and skateboarding injuries

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The weather is changing, and along with the transformation in weather comes a change in the types of cases being seen at Cone Health’s Trauma Center.

There is a significant influx of outdoor recreational-related injuries during the Spring season, and unfortunately, many of these are often critical and need to be treated emergently.  Most commonly, these critical injuries occur while bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading or engaging in any other wheeled sport.

With head, neck or other serious injury—it only takes that one accident that can lead to tragedy.

Therefore it is extremely important to take proper safety precautions.  When participating in wheeled sports, always wear a helmet regardless of age, intensity of the activity or location. Kids tend to mimic the behavior of their parents.

Therefore if the parents are diligent about helmet wearing, then the children will likely be the same way. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially if riding on or near the road and avoid distraction.

Do not wear headphones or use a cellphone or digital devices; distracted riding can be just as risky as distracted driving. If a critical injury is suspected, especially severe head or neck injury, call 911 immediately. Check to see if the injured individual is conscious, assume they may have a spinal injury and avoid moving them, also check to make sure they are breathing and their airway is not blocked.

If the individual is bleeding excessively, apply direct pressure and do not release until medical providers have arrived.  Time is of the essence when treating critical injury, the sooner a patient is treated, the better the outcome. Our community has an exceptional network of emergency responders and medical providers and trauma services dedicated to quickly and properly treating critical injuries.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. James “Jay” Wyatt III is the medical director of Cone Health Trauma Services and a general surgeon specializing in trauma and critical care surgery.

Dr. Wyatt is a 1985 graduate of Stanford University School of Medicine and completed his residency in general surgery at Stanford University Medical Center.