I shouldn't even be alive

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by ruggbutt, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. ruggbutt

    ruggbutt New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    I found these forums while looking for information about my RZR. Google was my friend! I've only had my 800-S for a couple of months, I traded in my Sportsman 850 HO that had only 95 miles on it. And two payments. Some may ask why? 10 May of this year I was riding my quad 23 miles north of Lake Pleasant on Cow Creek road. I was riding alone. It was more of a sightseeing thing and I was riding mellow and the worst thing that I could have imagined happened. I was involved in a low speed accident, just my quad and I was thrown off of it. I face planted a post that was holding barbed wire. My neck hurt like hell when I stood up. I knew in my heart that I was terribly injured. There was no phone service at that point and it was early and no one was riding. The quad had idled down the hill about 100 yards and it was the hardest 100 yards I ever walked. My only choice was to ride for help. Some might say I should have stayed put, but when I was 20 years old my cousin Mitch had died alone in the desert with a broken neck. I was going to get help or die trying. I rode back 20 miles to where my truck was staged, standing up on the quad cuz it hurt too much to sit. Luckily as I pulled in to where I was staged there were two couples getting ready to ride. I asked for one of the guys to help me, I told him I thought I was gravely injured and could he 1) call for paramedics 2) roll the quad into my trailer and lock it so I could send someone to get it. He sat me down in one of those folding hammock type chairs and his buddy came over and stood behind me to make sure the chair wouldn't fall over. I never lost consciousness during the ordeal and as we waited for Peoria F.D. he asked me if I had taken my helmet off. I told him no and he said it was cracked bad. Paramedics showed up and did their thing and I was airlifted to John C Lincoln on 3rd St. By this time they'd given me all kinds of pain meds and some of the trauma center was a blur, but I recall about 7 or 8 people working on me. At the time I didn't realize how badly I was hurt. The surgeon came in to see me and told me I'd broken my C2 vertebrae, in what is commonly called "the hangman's break". He said it was incredible that I survived the crash, and the ride back for help. Typically when the C2 goes the victim is paralyzed from the neck down, including the diaphragm which results in suffocation and death. I was able to move all my fingers and toes and the doc told me that miracle was a good description for what happened. So he scheduled surgery which meant fusing my C2 to my C3 vertebrae with a plate. They go in thru the front. He cut my throat, pushed my windpipe and other stuff to the side and installed the plate. This was on a Saturday just about 1 p.m. I woke up Monday around noon, intubated and catheterized. Evidently my O2 levels weren't up to snuff so they kept me in a coma for a day till the levels rose to acceptable. I wore a cervical collar for 4 months after that. I was able to go home 5 days after my accident. A broken necks feels exactly what you think it would feel like. I didn't eat for 3 weeks after the accident. It took another 2 months before I wasn't nauseous at the thought of food. If you've done the math you'll see that as of this posting I'm about a month or so free of the collar. I'm completely healed and have 95% of full range of movement in my neck. Once I felt good enough to go out I took the Sportsman back to the dealership and traded it in on an 800-S LE. Best choice I've made in years! I wish I'd have known how much fun the RZR is, I'd have never bought the quad in the first place. IMHO it's at least a factor of 10 more fun than something you straddle. I've been out the past 3 weekends riding. And never alone. I've learned a few things from my accident. Freak accidents happen. I have the accident on video (Go Pro). Totally not impressive to watch. The quad came up on 2 wheels, barely. I was thrown off to the side. And I've heard at least a hundred times since the accident "you shouldn't have been riding alone". Again, a good idea but I really was riding slow. If I was to guess the speed at which I was thrown off the bike I'd say max was 20mph. Freak accidents happen. I've crashed as a kid doing BMX and motorcycles. Crashed on 3 wheelers and motorcycles as an adult. Been hit in motor vehicles by other drivers. I wasn't expecting a low speed almost fatal injury. I ride my RZR with a passenger. We wear helmets, no exceptions. In Arizona. In the summer. I bought the LE edition cuz it had PRP buckets, to which I've installed 5 point PRP harnesses. What stands out about my accident has nothing to do with the bike, the terrain, the temperature out or the fact that I was alone. In fact, it's one of the main reasons why I love motorsports. It's the people. The folks that helped me weren't any nicer or more caring or better people. They were what I've experienced my whole life with other people who love motorsports. People willing to stop and help someone else they don't even know. To interrupt their limited time to help the next guy that's broken down or needs medical assistance. It's folks like you here on the forums that make this sport as fun as it is. Thank god for the internet so that we can share info on our rides, where to ride, cool new gear and how to troubleshoot or fix a problem. Thanks for reading my long winded post. I just wanted to say hi to the rest of you who have the same addiction that I have. Riding.
     
  2. JimandMelissa

    JimandMelissa UTVUndeground La Familia

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Well that's sure a hard way to make the switch to SXS's but glad you're ok and made it here.

    Welcome :cool:
     
  3. dkiewicz

    dkiewicz Space Cadet - UTVUnderground's La Familia

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Location:
    Hesperia Ca
    Glad your still with us Randy. Sounds like you've been through the ringer. I understand exactly what you're talking about having been through it with my son.

    You won't find a better collection of peeps than you'll find here. This is the numero uno place to be if what you seek are great friends, good times, and all the love and help you can handle. Come ride with La Familia if you're every in this neck of the woods (no pun intended) and you have a great time. As a matter of fact, try the UTV Underground Desert Rally II Dec 12-14 Ocotillo Wells 4x4 area. You won't be disappointed, I promise.

    Welcome aboard... Now let's start talking about mods to that LE...:D

    Dan...
     
  4. badassmav

    badassmav Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2013
    Location:
    Jamul
    :eek:Wow. An amazing story, and even more traumatic awakening. I'm sure in hindsight, and perhaps even at the moment, you thought of the loneliness and despair that your cousin must have suffered. I sure am glad you are able to tell your story. Welcome to the forum.
     
  5. ruggbutt

    ruggbutt New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    I knew my neck was broken, I could feel the pain in the bone. And you're correct, I thought about my cousin and told myself "not me, not now, I'll die trying to get help". I made the right decision.
     
  6. badassmav

    badassmav Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2013
    Location:
    Jamul
    Although I am sure the natural instinct of self preservation came into play, I must still say that:
    You are the Man!
     
  7. dunerat

    dunerat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    Wow thats a amazing story. So glad you are OK and Welcome to the forum
     
  8. TREE68

    TREE68 too tall for the rzr

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
    Location:
    so cal
    dude i hear you. and glad you have recovered. after a bad crash on my atc i tried quads, boy was that a bad move for a guy with a bad back. so i sold atc and the quads. even tried a fl350 oddesey. then went back to dirtbikes. even with a bad back the dirtbike tracked better than a quad, but after a bad downhill mountain bike accident in chantry flats my two wheeled days are over. i need shoulder surgery and back surgery. so for 3 years i have been collecting utv goodies in the garage. raffles, trades, multiple sandshows and offroad expo purchases. i started to think berts (utv dealer) and the vendors were gonna tell me enough is enough. i wanted a teryx 4 with all the LTI goodies to replace my 2003 tj jeep. but the t4 never worked out. BUT 2 weeks ago i landed my first utv after renting and test driving for years. so im hooked, will never look back. been modifying it ever since. with age the cage. you will enjoy life better with a confortable ride, and the safe feeling in your mind. unless you start doing 60 foot gap jumps. :eek: be safe, and i thanx for the read. :cool:
     
  9. ruggbutt

    ruggbutt New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    Wow Tree68, you've been thru it!! I've ridden off and on most of my life, not seriously but when I bought the quad I bought the top of the line model. The weekend previous I was hauling ass up and down the trails here north of Lake Pleasant. Even now it's bizarre that I was basically sightseeing and I got hurt. That being said I love my RZR and had I known how awesome the "cage" was I'd probably have bought one from the start. I spent the previous 5 years busting my butt getting my business off the ground, which meant I had no personal life. No fun and if I wasn't at work I was at home. It took a toll and I'm thankful that I can go out and be with the outdoors that I love. Which I do almost every weekend. I've only missed 3 weekends since I bought it in July. I'm addicted! Went to Glamis last week and had a ball. I rolled it transitioning one side of a hill to the other, no damage to me though. I was wearing my helmet and neck brace (yeah, I bought one!). Now it's in the shop getting a real cage, since the stock one isn't square any longer. I love this sport and I'm fortunate to have met some of the nicest people doing it. The people are one of the reasons why I like this sport. Thanks for the responses guys, I appreciate the feedback.
     
  10. Heybeerman

    Heybeerman Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Location:
    Morristown, AZ
    WOW!

    Crazy story, glad your here to tell it. Makes me want to get a "Spot" tracker more and more.

    Gonna look into it.
     
  11. FBT

    FBT Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Location:
    Foothills of the Northern Sierra Nevada
    Someone was watching out for you.
    I was in a business where responding to wrecks of all kinds and fatal industrial injuries was part of my job, and I have never saw a C-2 injury like yours that didn't result in major paralysis at best, and it was usually a fatal injury. I was in that business for 26 years.
    So if'n you are a praying man, you know what to do...
    We have a lot of fun here, you won't find a more responsive group of people anywhere on the net.
    Welcome aboard.
     
  12. ruggbutt

    ruggbutt New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    I hear ya FBT. Call it what you like, an angel or something else but I was being looked after for sure. My doctor is one of the top 20 neurosurgeons in the world and he's still amazed that I survived and that I've healed with 98% of my movement intact. Earlier this week I won a drawing from Bert's at Camp RZR. A grand worth of gear. I think I need to buy some lottery tickets as well. Ride the wave so to speak.
     
  13. GilaBrew

    GilaBrew New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2014
    Location:
    Rim Country AZ
    happy your good to go Randy, let's do a PHX ride sometime soon
     
  14. Kilgore23

    Kilgore23 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Your story hits close to home so I thought I would share mine and help drive home the NEVER RIDE ALONE rule. I to had a major spinal injury, 10+ years ago I shattered my T10 - T12 riding my dirt bike in Glamis. My back was fused and rods were inserted. However, it's my little brothers story that unfortunately he's not around to tell that I'd like to share.

    My brother and I both grew up racing motocross and raced intermediate level, we had a good amount of dune experience, and on the day of his accident Ray was wearing all protective gear. On March 17th 2006 Ray took off for a ride with a group of kids on quads in Glamis, for some reason he turned around and headed back to camp. It appears he was headed back out to catch up with the group when he came over a razor back. By the time Ray was found he had already past, and most everyone figured he had broke his neck. It wasn't till we got the coroners report back that we found out Ray didn't have one bone broken, but he had been nocked unconscious and suffocated when he inhaled a bunch of sand. This all happened about a 1/4 mile from camp.

    I don't talk about it much but hope that someone might just read this story and share the importance of NEVER RIDING ALONE!!! If it's possible to spare one family the heartache that mine has gone through, it's worth sharing.
     
  15. mearsman

    mearsman Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Thanks for sharing, it probably want easy. Thanks for your courage and hopefully someone will head the warnings that the rest of us put forth
     
  16. ruggbutt

    ruggbutt New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    Just to hammer the subject home to never ride alone I'll share a couple pics.

    [​IMG]

    I wore this collar for 4 months 24/7. By the end of the 4 months I thought I was going to lose my mind because it was so insanely uncomfortable. It wasn't as uncomfortable as a broken neck though....................

    [​IMG]
     

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