Accident Survivors Plea For Utahns To Gear Up Outdoors

May 25, 2021, 5:15 PM | Updated: 9:42 pm

MURRAY, Utah – As Utahns shake off the restrictions of the pandemic, and more people have gotten vaccinated, plans for Memorial Day are a lot more fun than they were a year ago. Intermountain Healthcare and a couple of outdoor accident survivors Tuesday urged Utahns to use the right gear to keep from ending up in the emergency room.

“You need to make sure that you prepare, and that you’ve got the proper gear,” said Rick Black, a paramedic team lead for Intermountain Life Flight. He was among several people urging caution outdoors during a news conference at the helipad of Intermountain Life Flight.

Jason Kitchen is thankful he was properly geared up when he fell at a bike park in southern Utah just a month ago.

“I decided to try showing off to my kids and took a spill on my mountain bike,” he said.

He hit his head, while wearing a helmet, and impaled his thigh with his handlebars.

“So, I knew right away this was pretty serious. That’s when I fell to the ground and motioned for my wife and my friends to come over and help me,” Kitchen said.

He said he was very afraid for his life at that moment as blood gushed out of his leg Two miracles saved his life, he said.

First, an off-duty police dispatcher saw what happened.

“Because of her training, she knew what to do, and she really laid into my leg to try and stop the bleeding,” he said.

When the paramedics arrived, they took over and Kitchen was rushed into surgery.

“After surgery, is when I learned how lucky I was to one, have a life, and twoto actually have a leg.”

He tore the skin off his leg and severed a vein which led to the second miracle.

“How I didn’t do any more damage, is something I think about all the time,” he said, he considers that a miracle.

Kitchen was also thankful he was wearing his helmet, which is critical in several sports.

“Helmets: very important if you’re riding any kind of motorized vehicle, or bicycle the biggest key to saving your life is wearing the right equipment including a helmet,” said Dr. David Hasleton, the senior medical director of emergency medicine and trauma operations for Intermountain Healthcare.

Intermountain Healthcare hospitals have seen a 9% increase in traumarelated incidents this year compared to 2020.  

It’s National Trauma Awareness month, so Intermountain trauma experts reminded Utahns to buckle up when they leave the house and be prepared for all adventures.

That means wearing the right clothing for your activity and rain gear in case a storm moves in, said Black. When you head off for an adventure, he emphasized, make sure somebody knows where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

“That they know precisely where you’re at, and what you’re doing in case you don’t return in time,” said Black.

Jeremy Achter is an experienced trail runner who nearly didn’t come home alive from a run on the Big Cottonwood Ridge seven months ago.

“I’m not sure quite what happened, but I fell,” he said.

Achter was told he fell between 150 and 180 feet. He broke his back, a dozen ribs, suffered a concussion, and a number of other injuries, but he was prepared.

His family was following him on a GPS tracker and he was running with a friend, who called 9-1-1.

“Life Flight was luckily available and there to come and get me and have me here at this location after about an hour and five minutes.”

He spent about ten days in the hospital. Because he was prepared he’s Back on the trails again.

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Accident Survivors Plea For Utahns To Gear Up Outdoors