>Local Accident Victim Says, "Wear Your Bike Helmet — Every Time!"

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Jul. 7, 2011

Editor’s note: The writer of the following is a local young man who was the victim of a bicycle accident, and offers advice to all who enjoy bike riding.

by Zack Hanline

My name is Zack Hanline and I am 14 years old. On the evening of June 6, 2011, I jumped on my new bike (Note: It was a bicycle, not a 4-wheeler or dirt bike) to take a quick ride around my yard before dinner. I did not put my helmet on because I was only taking a short ride. What a huge mistake. I had no idea what a nightmare I would be living for the next week.

I do not really remember the wreck that well, but I think my foot slipped off the pedal and in between the bars. Then the bike slammed me to the ground, and my head hit the road really hard.

My parents looked out the window of the house, and saw me lying on the ground by my bike. I did not respond when they yelled for me, because I was unconscious. They ran out to get me, and I started to wake up. My head was killing me, I was burning up, and really tired, dizzy and weak.

I could not remember anything about the wreck, or about that day. I could not even remember being in school that day. Soon I was really sick to my stomach, so my parents knew I had a concussion. They loaded me in the car (I could not even walk by myself), and took me to the emergency room.

I was given a CT scan. My parents and I waited for the doctor to come back and tell us that I had a concussion, and that I needed to go home and take it easy – but he had much worse news. He walked in with an image from my CT scan, and said I needed to be taken to another hospital because I had a subdural hematoma (bleeding on my brain).

From there, it all happened so fast. The next thing I knew, I was being strapped onto a stretcher, from head to toe, which was very uncomfortable, especially since I was still throwing up.

When we arrived at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown late that night, I was admitted into the pediatric intensive care unit, for observation of the hematoma. If it did not grow, I could go home, and take it easy.

I had CT scans every 12 hours to measure it. Wednesday morning I got the next piece of bad news: It was still bleeding, and beginning to put pressure on my brain stem and temporal lobe. This was very dangerous, and the doctors decided surgery was necessary to drain the blood.

My bleed site was too big to just have some holes drilled for drainage. I had to have a craniotomy. They had to make a 5-inch incision, remove a part of my skull, remove the blood, replace the skull bone, and put 22 staples in the incision. I also had to have a drain put in my head to get rid of the blood from the surgery.

The day after surgery was the worst day of my life. I literally felt like I was going to die. Everything hurt. I had IVs in both arms, and bands around my legs that inflated to keep me from getting blood clots in my legs. I had spots of hair shaved from the incision, and from the “GPS” things that they put on my head to show them where to operate. I was miserable.

The next morning was bad too. It hurt so bad when they pulled out my drainage tube. Slowly, though, I started to feel better, but I still ask myself every day, “Why didn’t I just put on my helmet?”

Because of this accident, I had to miss my last four days of middle school, the last school dance of the year, and worst of all, half of baseball season. I have to be very careful about everything I do for the rest of the summer instead of just enjoying myself. I battle headaches every day. All because I did not take one minute to put on my bike helmet.

Read more here.

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