Late Summer 2019, Just MTB co owner and lead guide Scott was enjoying a early morning ride with fellow guide the Rodfather in the famous forests around Rotorua know as the Redwoods.
It was a pretty normal ride until the unthinkable happened. While on a steep decent Scotts front wheel clipped a tree root and sent him over the bars and down the hill... and into a tree. Scotts Ironman / G9 esk chin took the brunt of the impact and was split open. Unfortunately that wasn't the end of it, Scotts neck was rapidly twisted and he received what is known as the hangmans break. He had broken his C2 into 30 pieces, normally a fatal accident.
Incredibly Scott survived the impact and come around in agony and without any movement down his body. The Rodfather who is advanced first aid certified realised the seriousness of the situation and sprang into action and contacted the good folks at the RMTBC (the Rotorua Mountain bike club first response unit). These guys are legit and were soon on the scene and were able to stabilize Scots neck with a neck brace. Some pain relief was given and then the challenge of getting Scott off the side of a steep bank covered in thick forest was realized. A helo was required and help to get him to a spot without making the life threatening injuries any worse.
A team effort carefully orchestrated by the RMTBC crew saw Scott taken to the safe spot so a winch could be lowered. Once in the helicopter it was clear that specialist help was needed fast, and Scott was flown to Aucklands Middlemore hospital and the spinal unit took over.
Several nervous and painful months later Scott is recovering at home with his family, he still has a full upper body neck brace on and is facing a few more months of that. He has full movement and little nerve damage which is incredible and amazing.
Through the fantastic and quick skills by the Rodfather and the RMTBC and the Spinal unti at Middlemore Scott survived and he is hopeful to be able to ride a bike again this summer.
It is always important to be prepared, or to travel with a buddy who can help out, even better when you are booking a trip into remote locations go with a guide and a company that knows what its doing and has the full emergency equipment on hand to be able to respond.
As we have seen, it can happen to even the best downhill racers, be prepared, have fun and stay safe!