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Life-Threatening Wakeboard Injury
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skitz
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 12:19 pm    Post subject: Life-Threatening Wakeboard Injury Reply with quote

So I decide to take the boat out yesterday and invite a friend of mine and her boyfriend to join the crew. Her boyfriend doesn't have much wakeboard experience but a lifetime of skiing under his belt. As soon as he gets up he cuts out and HALLS A** toward the wake, launching and eating it. We obviously credit the guy for having some guts as he continues to take poundings. As we are heading in for the day, he says he wants to go for one more run. He straps on, eats it hard twice, than signals for one more time. He gets up, takes a big cut, nosedives, ouch...no big deal. I circle the boat around and asked if he's okay (As i'd done the previous few crashes). He says he rung his bell but is fine. The wakeboard actually stayed on, so he removed it and began to swim to the back of the boat. I tell him to relax in the water for a minute. At this point he shuts his eyes and begins to breathe very shallow and erratic. Call his name, no response. Than he begins to vomit violently. Everyone jumps in the water, I call 911, ambulance comes (luckily he was close to shore so they could float him over) medics see him and freak, call life flight, away he goes. Turns out that his brain is severely bleeding and is swollen. They did emergency surgery and cut a hole in his skull to relieve the pressure, but he is still in a deep coma unresponsive. Docs are hoping for a recovery, but at this point there is no telling.
So after 3 hours of interrigation by the FWC (was read my rights....very scary stuff), they clear me and the crew of criminal charges. Now I am left here doing the "what if" thing. Should I have told him to relax a little bit and not go so big? We all see our friends eat it and honestly that can be half the fun. But I have never ever heard of an injury like this from just smacking your head on the water. There was no branch or debris...and his head didn't hit the bottom. Just the water. I have seen lots of crashes and on a scale from 1-10 this was around an 8.
So now I have a guy in a coma hanging onto his life surrounded by a crying family and girlfriend, and I am feeling a bit guilty. Thoughts?
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howabouttheiris
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried three times to type a reply that would help, relating to my experiences with folks crashing and getting hurt........ nothing came out right.

Best of luck to him and God bless. Understand that bad things happen and it is not your fault. You will need to come to this on your own terms.
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sad i hope he gets well soon
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As with the guy above im not really sure what to say. Dont feel guilt or think back on it it just brings more pain, there is nothing you can change. I am sure he wouldnt want you to feel guilty for there is nothing you could of done. He made his own decisions you didnt make them for him. I feel deeply sorry for all of you. I will say a prayer tonight for all of you. Thats another thing just pray for a good future and not look back on the past
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

skitz, man, that's tough. I'm sorry. I'm sure it's hard but you can't blame yourself. It was his decision on how hard he wanted to take it and there's no way you could have known this would be the result.
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Dragonlady8
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't take much to get a concussion. I'm sure you've hit the water with your head a few times by now and water hurts just as much as hitting a solid object when wakeboarding.

Learn from this and look into taking a water safety/1st aid course in the future.

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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to hear that man. Like others have said, he decided to go big. It wasn't your fault. He is probably that kinda guy, all or nothing, and he was giving it his all. Bad things happen that just can't be explained, it's nobodies fault, they just happen.

I will keep your friend in my thoughts. I hope he recovers. Please keep us posted on his progress.
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with others post ....most of us get a small measure of enjoyment seeing some crashes behind the boat and you can't beat yourself up. I will add my thoughts and prayers to your crew for a full recovery.

Concussions are not that unusual in wakeboarding but fortunately for most incidents, they are not that severe. It seems possible he may have had a minor concussion before his last big run given the repeated crashes.

Moving forward we could all learn from this and watch out for signs of concussion after we see a good bell ringer....headache, short term memory loss (repeating things over), acting and talking a little off the mark / confused, blurred vision, nausea and vom.
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BioliteRy
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only thing anyone can say is that we all hope he makes it through with the best and easiest recovery. I'll throw a prayer his way. We've all been in the 'what if' situation. You can't control something like this. You definitely have my sympathy. Very unfortunate. He'll make it. Sounds like the guy had not an ounce of quit in him. I hope for the best!
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like his woman is single for a few days Shocked



Hope he gets better.
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Se7en, that's beyond horrible. Not funny at all.
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Se7en, that might have crossed the line a bit
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That part about being read your rights is scary. Not trying to be coarse, but I have to ask about how this is going to affect your insurance or if you are at risk for a civil lawsuit. Is an insurance claim going to be filed against you for the injury?

Does anyone know if a having riders sign a waiver will help prevent a lawsuit when injury unrelated to the boat or driver occurs like this?
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From his experience with skiing he should know that water hurts. if he didnt make it the first couple of times he should of slowed down and tried a different approach.
wish him a speedy recovery and dont beat yourself up over it.

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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Se7en, I would have said it if you didn't...

But in all seriousness, that is so sad, and I hope your friend gets better, really quick.
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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2007 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

david-d wrote:
Se7en, I would have said it if you didn't...



Nothing to be proud of. That was probably the worst comment I've ever read on this forum. Dude almost dies (still might) and somebody cracks a joke about his girlfriend being single? That's hilarious, perhaps you and "Se7en" could take a trip down to the local cancer ward and laugh at some kids with terminal cancer. That'd be funny too. Rolling Eyes
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skitz
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate everybody's thoughts and prayers. As of right now, he is still in a deep coma with no reaction to any kind of stimuli. Apparently they will know more ater a few days as to what the diagnosis will be. It just makes you think how fragile life can be. I must say that I will probably be wearing a helmet after this situation. Thanks for all of the positive comments and I will keep everyone posted on the situation.
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

skitz, Sorry to hear this. Like everyone else, I hope he recovers.

You said you'll probably wear a helmet now. I'm just wondering if you think a helmet would have made a difference in this situation?
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

skitz, you can't beat yourself up over it. If you were operating the boat the right way then there is no way you can control someone else's actions when they are behind your boat. Maybe you could try to tell them, but you can't make them listen. If I were you, I would take some comfort in the fact that you and your friends' ability to think fast and get him some help immediately are a lot more important than anything else right now. If he does not come out of it, it is NOT your fault. However, if he DOES recover, it will be because of you.

jpk, if skitz was driving the boat safely and reasonably, and didn't put the guy at risk by way of his driving, then his rider assumed the risk of injury when he got on the board-especially with the knowledge an experienced skier would have. I don't see how there could be any legal responsibility on the driver's part here.

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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

skitz, as everyone else has said, its not your fault at all... if he was an experienced skiier he shouldve known about the risks... especially after eating it so many times, he shouldve slowed down... I didnt know that you could have serious injuries after hitting the water hard, especially if it didnt feel so bad. It happened to me once, I faceplanted really bad twice one day, stayed up all night throwing up, but thought it was something Id ate. Thankfully I didnt go riding the next day cause I felt so weak, but if Id gone and kept faceplanting like that, it wouldve been really serious... But those are the what ifs you cant worry too much about..

Hope it all goes well, and think of this as a learning experience....

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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I'm wondering the same thing about the helmet.... dlady, might know a bit more since she is in the medical field...

Terrible situation, sorry to hear that...
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do they know if it was the last bail that caused it or all the times before but he never noticed? Hope he gets well.
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bobmurph
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

skitz, it doesn't sound to me like there is anything you could have done. I doubt him "relaxing" in the water had anything to do with the injury. What are the doctors saying about the cause of the injury? Sounds to me like he may have suffered a concussion earlier in the day and the continued impact sent the swelling to another level.

After reading this thread I think I'm instituting a new rule on my boat that if you ring your bell good once, then you're done for the day, whether or not you feel better later on.

You really gotta watch out for inexperiened riders going balls out. I was at Keystone last month w/ a group of buddies. One of the more inexperienced guys was going balls out w/ reckless abandon on the very first run of this trip to CO. Second run, sure enough, he caught his heel edge and disloacted his elbow, fractured both his distal radius (wrist) and distal humerus (arm). Shocked However, most guys who ride recklessly aren't going to listen to anyone anyways.
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~Last Summer~
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kdip, More than likely an injury as he described is from repeated blows to the head and is a progressive injury that gets worse and worse with each blow. It's not likely it occured from solely the last wreck. Probably one of early falls started the concussions and just slowly got worse.

This is why you get yanked from playing in a football game or you throw in the towel in boxing. Sad thing is sometimes the person is not aware of the severity of their injury when they get their "bell rung".

skitz, Doesn't help to point fingers or place blame on anyone. If you were checking on him each time and seemed okay thats all you could do. You aren't a doctor so you can't expect yourself to diagnose something like this.

Just a freak thing that you wish you could do over again... Hope he gets better, keep us updated.

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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

david-d, Se7en, Damn, come on guys... Confused The "Preview" button can be your best friend sometimes...
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, that sucks! I'm really sorry to hear about that. I will definitely pray for his quick recovery.

For me, this really makes me start thinking that I need to bust out my helmet again. Last season, (or the season before, I can't remember), I took a bad digger going backwards and rang my bell really good. It turned out that I had sustained a concussion. After being dizzy and feeling like I needed to throw up for a week, not to mention a non-stop headache, I went in for a CAT scan and the whole nine yards. Fortunately for me I didn't have any bleeding on the brain or anything, but I did have to take a month off from riding.

When I started riding again I wore a helmet at the advice of a friend who's an orthopedic surgeon, who just happens to wakeboard as well. Of course I took a lot of flack from my friends that I rode with about how goofy I looked with the helmet on. There were also a few threads at that time about whether or not a helmet would actually help or not in a head to water crash. Most people felt that a helmet would only help if you hit your head on some type of object. Some even felt that a helmet would be worse in a head to water crash because of the increase in surface area hitting the water.

I told my surgeon friend about these threads and he laughed when I told him about the people who thought a helmet would not do any good in a head to water crash. He told me that a helmet would help to absorb the energy from the crash and lessen the severity of the brain pan hitting the inner walls of the skull. After hearing that I continued to ride with a helmet for a while, but then decided to put it away for the sake of not looking like a kook.

After hearing about this terrible accident, as well as some others, I think I'm going to pull the helmet back out this season. After all, why is it that a helmet is acceptable in snowboarding and skateboarding, but not wakeboarding? The only possible arguement is that water is more forgiviing than concrete and snow, so therefore you do not need one. Well, obviously that argument no longer holds true.

Again, my prayers are with your friend and his family.

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skitz
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few of the docs have said that the multiple crashes before hand definitely could have had an impact on the injury. It probably is a good idea to cut riders off if they eat it hard. As far as the legalities go, the FWC has ruled it an accident, but that doesn't mean I'm out of the woods. According to my friend, scumbag lawyers have been trying to contact the family already. I am not really worried about all that. I have very good liability insurance so hopefully that will take care of it. But honestly I'm just worried about his condition right now. But fyi, the marine patrol was trying everything they could to press charges on me. If there had been drinking involved, this would have been a totally different story. I advise everyone to have a sober driver on board at all times. You never know when an accident can happen. Thanks again for all the prayers and support and I will keep you updated!
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I completely endorse the use of a helmet. I was screwed-up for 2 weeks after taking multiple hits to the head eating it on my wakeboard. I've been using a helmet ever since then. Many times I've said, I'm sure glad I had the helmet on -- after a big crash.

Yes -- it looks goofy! But our heads are fragile and vulnerable. Be careful.

skitz, no mater what we say, you'll probably still beat yourself up over this. You didn't do anything wrong. And you did a good thing generating a discussion here. Maybe someone in the future will be spared injury because you shared your story.

Good Luck to you and your friend skitz.


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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jpk, To answer your question about the waiver. A waiver (if drafted and endorsed by your insurance company) can protect a boat owner from any wrong doing if it is specifically outlined in the waiver. Even with a waiver a boat owner can be sued civilly. It sounds like skitz, has good insurance but that wont stop lawyers form trying to go after assets. skitz, free advice from my experience with a similar situation, if any lawyer contacts you tell them nothing. Tell them to contact your lawyer, make sure you do some homework and have one in mind when the call comes, it sounds like it wont be long. With a lawyer representing you as well as the FWC concluding that this was an accident, more than likely your insurance policy limit will be negotiated as compensation to the injured.

Of course, like others have already stated, you did nothing wrong. Riders should know their limits, I always offer a small speech to every rider that steps on my boat about the reality of injury. I had a rider that was seriously injured last year. I too felt guilty, responsible and did the what if game as well. I didn't really stop feeling responsible until the injured said that they felt stupid for going so big and they apologized for putting me in the situation. I am sure your friend would say the same thing, he knows it was nothing you that you did. It was an accident. Prayers and hopes for you and your crew.
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had already planned to wear a helmet behind the boat this summer before this and some other recent injury-related threads but this just affirms my decision. I wouldn't worry about what other people "think" about how you look. If they are judging me on what I'm wearing and not how I'm riding than I could care less.

skitz, Prayers to you and your injured rider.

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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

skitz, Thanks for sharing the updates and continued prayers and thoughts your way for you and your crew. This is one of the most meaningful posts I have read on here. Got me thinking about helmets and appreciating the days.

David-d and Se7en there are plenty of other places to post your wise a remarks.
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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2007 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Apr 26, 2007 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would really hope that he doesn't sue you. He decided to go ride and to take the risk. It sounds like you were driving at a normal rate of speed and based on your response to him in trouble, you acted quickly. In no way is this your fault. In no way should you be held liable for his injury. There are warning stickers everywhere - the boat, the board, bindings, jacket, etc. Good luck to you and your friend.
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PostPosted: Apr 26, 2007 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hear about this Skitz, it's crazy what can happen out there. I brought a friend one time who was athletic and a skater and on his second try to get up he broke his femur. He never even got out of the water. I felt bad about it too even although it wasn't my fault other than the fact I brought him along.

Wow David-D, you sure are hard to show that demon smiley. Wow! So cool! Neutral Go find the post about JD Webb at the recent TWT slider event. There's a lot bigger difference between him and you than wakeboarding skills.
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PostPosted: Apr 26, 2007 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

King of the Tigers, That's the second time I've heard about someone breaking a femur attempting to get up on a wakeboard. The femur is the biggest bone in the human body -- it takes a lot to break it.

The first person (a boat owner) that told me about it was being sued. His advice to me was: "be selective who you pull."
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