YOUR LIFE YOUR HEALTH

How to enjoy Utah’s mountain bike trails safely this summer

Jun 27, 2022, 4:52 PM | Updated: 7:42 pm

PARK CITY, Utah — Utah is known for backcountry sports. Mountain biking is especially popular in the summer months.

But it doesn’t come without risk. Two emergency room doctors know all too well what trouble can arise on mountain trails. Both are veterans of the outdoors and of fixing broken bodies at Intermountain Park City Hospital.

Mike Dbeisi and Austin Smith are veterans of the outdoors and of fixing broken bodies at Intermountain Park City Hospital. (Ken Fall/KSL TV)

Dr. Mike Dbeisi is an emergency medicine physician with Intermountain Healthcare. Two years ago, he and his bike went down hard.

“I shook my kidney so hard that it split in half,” he said. “By the time I got to my car, it was a 10 out of a 10 – it was the most awful, gut-wrenching, visceral pain that I could ever even see somebody having.”

He recovered from the kidney laceration. But he and his colleagues know the problems on a bike trail can get even worse.

“That’s really the hardest thing to deal with as an emergency physician, is seeing injuries that didn’t have to happen,” said Dr. Austin Smith, medical director of the emergency department at Intermountain Park City Hospital.

Dr. Mike Dbeisi took a bad fall on a mountain bike two years ago. (Ken Fall/KSL TV)

They see mountain bike injuries every year, especially during the spring, summer and fall seasons. Injuries range from minor scrapes or “road rash” to fractures, dislocations, or concussions.

Some injuries can be less obvious – like internal bleeding. Smith said that’s why it’s important to seek care after a crash.

“When I fell, luckily I had my phone,” Dbeisi said.

But reception can be an issue in the mountains. So, always let people know your plans.

“Letting your family know where you’re going, especially if you’re going alone,” Smith said.

Helmets that fit correctly are something both doctors say you should never be without.

“If the helmet’s too big, you’re going to see it rotate. And when I put on the strap here and clip it, make sure it’s on tight,” Smith said. “I want to be sure there’s at least two finger widths underneath the chin strap, and that allows me to do some breathing or yelling.”

Helmets that fit correctly are something both doctors say you should never be without. (Ken Fall/KSL TV)

Dbeisi and Smith have other simple reminders everyone should take seriously before they hit the trails:

  • Maintain your bike and equipment.
  • Take plenty of water, sunscreen, and protective gear like sunglasses, gloves, elbow guards and knee guards.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and others. Skip the ear buds so you can hear your surroundings.
  • Know the terrain and look downhill.

Most accidents happen on unfamiliar terrain or when trying something beyond the biker’s skill level.

Dbeisi knows his mental expectation sometimes outperforms his physical ability.

“You’re still in that mental mindset, but your body is now 45 and your reflexes aren’t there,” he said.

He reminds all of us that we are no longer as young as we once were.

“We all have kids, and you see them bounce and get right back up,” Smith said. “We don’t bounce. We actually break.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Your Life Your Health

New mom Michelle Jackson had problems breastfeeding little Jason so she called a lactation consulta...
Ayanna Likens

Some moms struggle with breastfeeding, here are some helpful tips

August is breastfeeding awareness month, and for some mothers who want to breastfeed, it doesn’t come easy. Intermountain Healthcare shares some tips on how to help.
4 days ago
...
Ayanna Likens

Three healthy back-to-school lunches using the same ingredients

Chef Christopher Delissio with Intermountain shares three healthy lunches to put in your kid’s school lunch box, all using the same ingredients.
10 days ago
Dr. Randa Tao is the lead researcher on the study at the Huntsman Cancer Institute....
Jed Boal

Researchers find patients with specific cancer at higher risk for mental health issues

New research out of Huntsman Cancer Institute reveals that Hodgkin lymphoma patients and survivors are more likely to suffer from mental health and substance abuse disorders than the general population.
12 days ago
5-year-old Elodie gets immunized before she begins kindergarten. (KSL TV)...
Ayanna Likens

Utah doctor talks about how important vaccinations are for kids heading back to school

School is just around the corner and if you have kids entering kindergarten or seventh grade, that means it’s time to get them immunized.
18 days ago
Hillary Ramone's son Parker stops for a water break while at the park....
Ayanna Likens

Proper hydration is about more than just drinking water

Intermountain doctors share tips on how to keep you and your kids hydrated in Utah’s high heat.
24 days ago
When the UV Index is seven or higher you are at a higher risk for skin cancer. Use sunscreen or con...
Ayanna Likens

Staying safe in the sun: Don’t forget to check the UV Index

Utah has the highest rate of melanoma in the nation with 42 cases per 100,000 people, double the national average. That’s why doctors at Intermountain Medical Center said you need to protect yourself when headed outside.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
How to enjoy Utah’s mountain bike trails safely this summer