In this podcast I talk about medical training for mountain bikers and why you need to know how to help yourself or a fellow rider. The truth is that what we do is a dangerous sport that usually takes place away from civilization and knowing how to stabilize someone who has suffered a traumatic injury until the real help can arrive is an important skill in the MTB Warrior’s toolbox.
Here are the notes from the podcast…
If you ride long enough you are going to crash. If you crash enough eventually you or someone you are riding with is going to get hurt.
What we do is dangerous and a lot of the time we are doing it away from civilization where help can take some time to get there. I’ve personally been around a few bad injuries, including a broken neck and kid who fell off a cliff, and I’ve known some riders who had bad puncture wounds, including the femoral artery with their handlebars.
The point isn’t to scare people, simply to point out something that the industry as a whole tends to ignore, which is probably resulting in worse outcomes for some riders who could have benefitted from someone who was ready to help.
Most people will say that they are ready to help if needed but it takes more than just the desire to help. You need the knowledge, skills and tools to help as well or your desire to help can’t be put to use.
The goal of this podcast is to cover some general topics, including the MARCH Algorithm for dealing with traumatic injuries, and hopefully spark some interest in learning more. I’ll also make some recommendations on equipment to carry to help you as well.
Remember too that the goal is not to become a trauma medicine expert, simply to be able to help stabilize someone long enough for the real help to arrive.
The first thing you need to do is assess the situation and make sure that it is safe for you to help. You don’t want to make the situation worse by adding another person who needs help to the situation.
You also want to make sure that someone has contacted help or is going to contact help. If possible, make sure someone is going to meet the help somewhere that they know so they can be led directly to the person needing help.
Once you have done that it is time to apply the MARCH Algorithm…
- Massive Bleeding. If someone is bleeding heavily then you need to stop it before they bleed out, which may be only a few minutes if they have severed an artery. Tools to use include a tourniquet, gauze, compression bandage, quick clot or an “Israeli Bandage”.
- Airway. You need to make sure that they can breath as comfortably as possible so check for airway obstructions or have them get into the recovery position on their side (assuming no head trauma so do this after completing the algorithm).
- Respiration. Check to see if they have any sucking chest wounds that need to be addressed. Chest seals work best but you can also use a plastic bag and duct tape, taping only three sides to leave some ventilation.
- Circulation. Re-check to see if you missed anything or any tourniquets you placed need to be tightened again. This is also the place to start CPR if needed.
- Head Trauma/ Hypothermia. Head Trauma means making note of the presence of head trauma because you don’t want to move someone who has a brain or spinal injury. Hypothermia refers to how the body can have trouble staying warm after massive bleeding and you need to cover the person up to keep them warm, even in a hot environment. Solar Blankets work well for this purpose.
After you have assessed the situation and taken the needed actions at each step you are now ready to decide on the next course of action – stay put or try to move them to help.
These skills are also valuable in your everyday life where you could come across a car accident or have a bad accident at home that requires more than a band-aid to fix.
Being the MTB Warrior means having the skills to “bring the others back” (which includes being able to bring yourself back if needed too) and the medical side of things is an important part of that skill set.
And we’ll end with a quote from Miyamoto Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings…
“Force yourself to develop the skills needed to become the warrior you define yourself to be.”
Be sure to visit www.bikejames.com to sign up for a great free isometric workout program and, if you like it, get the Atomic Strength Training Program.
And also visit www.pedalinginnovations.com to learn more about the Catalyst Pedal, the world’s only double-pressure point pedal that allows maximum stability and performance from your feet.
Until next time…
MTB Strength Training Systems