My Son’s Motorcycle Accident – Helmets Can Save Lives!
I got “that” call the night before last. The phone woke me up at 12:30pm. My 2nd son Drew was on the line. “Mom, I’m on the way to the hospital. Joe has been in a motorcycle accident………..he is ok.” Drew starts crying. I’m still waking up and trying to decifer what I am hearing. So he tells me what he knows and says he’ll call me back as soon as he gets to the hospital. I hang up the phone….I start crying. The realization that Drew might not be telling me everything. That my 2 sons were in TN and I am in OH. Of course the mind goes crazy. Dave woke up and asked what happened. I am crying and trying to tell him. He hugs me and holds me.
Drew calls again at the hospital. He handed the phone to his cousin Matt who was with Joe when it happened. Matt had been a medic in the army and his wife is actually an ER nurse in Vanderbilt Medical center where they were. He tells me that Joe has an injured ankle and shoulder and road rash. They were going to get x-rays and CT scan of the head. He put Joe on the phone and at first he was too muffled to understand. He had to take off the oxygen mask and he said to me, “Are you going to tell me ..I told you so?” I laughed and told him no.
My son…yeah….not such a lovely pose -( I had to do a bit of photo editing). He actually was posing for his cousin’s FB page, not for his mother. He doesn’t look bad in this picture does he? Read on…you’ll see why.
This is what happened (as best as I can tell it from what I heard) Joe was at the motorcycle club (military veterans) with his cousin and his friends. They left there (Joe was not drunk…he passed the test without any problems at the hospital) and a group of 5 of them were heading for home around 11:00pm. Joe was the 3rd one in the single file line. I guess the least experienced rider (Joe had only been riding about 2 months) goes in the middle. The most experienced leads the way. They were on a freeway entrance ramp increasing speed to get into traffic. Suddenly a white pick up truck stops getting on the freeway. The lady behind him slams on her brakes. The first 2 riders were able to swerve around one left and one right of the car. Joe was not as lucky. He had no where to go. He was laying down his bike and then it flipped him over onto his left side. His cousin Matt was trying to miss hitting him and his extended foot rest hit Joe’s helmet and spun him around. Behind them traffic was coming fast. Another one of the club members was in a truck coming up next and saw sparks and was able to slam on his brakes and hit flashers to get the rest of the traffic to stop.
I asked Joe what he was thinking in that moment that he was rolling across the pavement. He said he was hoping all those lights he saw from oncoming cars were not going to hit him.
The white truck left the scene. They aren’t sure if that person even really knew what happened or just got scared. The woman in the car was first upset that Joe’s motorcycle had slid under her car and had caused a couple dents. But she was a nurse and did go help Joe. Matt was a medic in the army so he knew what to do. I guess his helmet broke (the fasteners to hold it on) when he ripped it off his head and threw it down running to help Joe. Another one of the club members was in a car several back and wondered why there was traffic that time of night. Then they saw Matt walking on the road and ran to help. One of them was a Doctor. So Joe was in good hands.
The ER filled with about 20-25 of this motocycle club. They were all worried about Joe. The lead biker felt he should have been able to protect Joe somehow since he was lead biker and had the most experience. Joe’s roommate JS was upset because Joe had mentioned driving to the club that night since it had rained earlier and the roads were wet. JS talked Joe into riding their bikes. They all came in to see Joe…one by one. Telling him they were there for him..anything he needed. Those are friends. They might have looked a little rough or scary to some in their leather vests etc…but they were there for my son …..so they are wonderful! It was no ones fault …it was an accident – no one knew it was coming.
Hospital report showed no broken bones or internal injuries. The head CT was fine. So let’s explore how someone can be going almost freeway speed, get thrown from a motorcycle onto asphalt ….have another motorcycle foot rest hit your head and spin you around and all you have is a hurt shoulder, nasty road rash on your knees, hip and side, a hurt ankle and hurt wrist.
Proper equipment – Joe had on a full helmet, leather jacket with skid plates, leather gloves with skid plates ( I don’t know that is what they call them…but protection in the gloves), long pants (only would have been better if he had on chaps) and boots. Here are the results of what happened to those.
I know these gloves don’t look bad. But they said the leather on the other side of the gloves was pretty messed up….see the knuckles? Joe would have had some messed up knuckles and hands without these.
But this is what really got me. Yes the face mask is all scraped up…so Joe’s face would have been a mess without the front protection. But look at the back of the helmet. Think what his scull would have looked like instead of this flap of broken helmet. Think he would have been here today? Maybe….but also probably in a coma ….or some serious brain damage if he were alive at all.
Yes Joe was a new rider….but believe me…accidents happen. The other riders said it wasn’t anything Joe did wrong. They think the same thing would have happened to them in the same circumstance. Joe had considered getting a half helmet like the others wore….to look cool. But Matt told him for the first 2 years of riding you need a full helmet. Thank God he did.
My interpretation is….it doesn’t matter how experienced you are….you never know when or how an accident is going to happen. That wind in your hair may feel nice…but is it worth it? Simple choice to me.
Side Note: TN (where my son lives) has a mandatory helmet law. OH (where I live) does not require helmets. So hard to believe. There is a law that you have to wear a seat belt and you can’t text while driving (which are both good laws) but no law to wear a helmet.
Thanks for sending me the pictures boys. Thanks for taking care of my boy. Love you son.