Even Wearing Helmet, Fractured Skull & Brain Hemorrhage

Lest I feel too sorry about my broken hand bone, triathlete Camilla Pedersen is still in an induced coma after swerving her bike to avoid schoolchildren, crashing and fracturing her skull on September 3rd. Pedersen is the current European Ironman champion, and even though she was wearing a helmet – probably the Rudy Wing 57 she endorses – she came off the bike and landed directly on her head.

Ironman European Champion Camilla Pedersen Suffers Serious Head Injuries

… The incident occurred while on a group ride in the town of Esbjerg, which is in the South West region of Denmark. According to local reports, Pedersen and the group she was riding with, turned a corner to find a group of children standing on the road. The rider in front was able to avoid hitting the children and remain upright, however being the back rider Pedersen was unable to and came off her bike.

Although she was wearing a helmet, Pedersen landed head first and lost consciousness immediately. An ambulance was called and in that time Pedersen regained consciousness but was speaking incoherently. This has caused concern what the long term damage may be.

Upon arrival at the hospital in Esbjerg, Pedersen was assessed to have sustained skull fractures and bleeding on the bran. It was decided she would then be transported to an alternative hospital that is more equipped to deal with such injures.

She was immediately put into an induced coma and on a respirator. Pedersen underwent surgery on Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning to insert two drains in her skull in an attempt to control the pressure from the brain bleeding. She will remain in an induced coma for several days until the swelling comes down and give her body best chance of recovery.

Although there was some expectation of waking her after the critical third day, this Danish language site says that she is still in critical condition this weekend and that doctors have chosen to keep her in the coma longer.

I wish Ms Pedersen a complete recovery.

The night before last, I was shopping for a strong glove to protect my hand when I start riding again, when I suddenly realized that I hadn’t even looked at the helmet I was wearing when the MTA bus knocked me over. In addition to my painful knee and hand injuries, I had two faint bruises on the right side of my chin and forehead, and a large bruise along the back of my left upper arm.

I had been wearing the yellow Bell Solar that I bought along with the folding Xootr Swift eight years ago. Besides a scrape on the thin plastic shell was a large crack in the expanded polystrene liner – just where my noggin smacked the pavement. So I need a new helmet, but I avoided heavy bruising, concussion or fracture. Thank you, Bell.

In the last two weeks I have paid attention to how many cyclists in automobile traffic aren’t wearing helmets. They mostly seem to be young adult riders. I wish I could pull up besides each of them and tell them how fast things can go wrong.

Update 20130911: From Triathlete-Europe:

The medical staff at Odense University Hospital are working on keeping the pressure inside her brain down to avoid surgery. [and] will keep her in the induced coma until they consider it safe to wake her up. This might take weeks and, as of now, it is impossible to say when they will try to wake her up …

Update 20131003: Pedersen has regained consciousness and movement, but not language, according to a Danish language site:

… the staff at Hammel Neuro Center applauds her for her walk of courage and determination to meet the challenges they ask. She even walks around the corridors … , which we had not anticipated a week ago, says Michael Pedersen, who also reveals that she briefly has been on an exercise bike ….

We talk to her and she is about to rediscover the language, but she’s looking in between the words. We are happy that she shows the great progress she is making, and we’re really happy to see her lovely smile again …


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