5“I don’t want to stay awake, and my name is Justin not Dustin!” Justin Williams, Junior National Champion, feisty even while losing consciousness and blood
As cyclists, chances are high for our involvement in a crisis. We must know basic first aid as its use could save a life. Even my squeamish self had to come through when the situation called for it. As the first responder to a high-speed crash, I leaped over a guardrail to be with Justin Williams. I could see from the cliff above him that blood was gushing out of his leg, and my first thought wasn’t so much in saving his life but in not leaving him alone to suffer. So many riders were down in this crash and Justin’s position so precarious, someone had to get down there and support him.
I called quickly for a towel from the gathering crowd and was handed a white hooded jacket instead. Trembling and faint myself, I wrapped Justin’s thigh and held pressure around it with my hands while calling up the cliff for the emergency people. Instead I became an emergency responder. The bank was wet and so steep I threw off my sandals and dug toes into dirt to keep from sliding. The white hoodie became red, his blood streaming steadily. I was nearly falling and fainting but keeping Justin awake was my focus.
Finally I was joined by real medics, and Justin was airlifted to a hospital. I later learned that his hamstring had detached from the bone and an artery was punctured by the guardrail he’d hit to avoid downed riders in front of him. Time was of the essence, they said, for his blood loss was great and my primitive compression reduced its flow, sparing his life.
I keep those crimson-stained clothes as a reminder that life is in the blood, precious, spilling easily. Blood-soaked hands shook but squeezed to guard a life prolonged through swift actions. Don’t delay to find First Aid classes or to help a person in need.
Prayer for Emergency Preparedness
“I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am troubled; O Lord, come to my aid!” 6Isaiah 38:14
We are glad for quick techniques of response in emergencies. We ask foremost for safety in cycling. If circumstances arise, we pray for knowledge of first aid and swift knowledgeable responders.
Ponder Have I faith enough to cope with any situation? Affirm I am ready for an emergency. Watch for the help of experts and the hand of God in meeting any crisis.
5Conversations with Justin Williams. This incident occurred at the Junior National Championships at Seven Springs Resort,Pennsylvania in 2007. A high-speed crash on a mountainside led to dozens of fallen riders. Thankfully, everyone lived to tell about it.
6The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society