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

Your Life Your Health

Chris and Aimee Tyler, speaking about their experience with Chris's pancreatic cancer diagnosis....

Emma Benson

‘Cancer can affect anybody’: Utah couple processes pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and often goes undetected until it's advanced. One Utah County man is fighting for more time with his loved ones.

3 days ago

Ruth Norton uses the ArthroFit gym to help senior patients prevent, prepare for and recover from su...

Emma Benson

Intermountain program helps seniors fight joint pain, recover from surgery

Ruth Norton has had her fair share of health challenges, including double-knee surgery, open-heart surgery, and breast cancer. 

10 days ago

...

Emma Benson

‘The place we love isn’t healthy’: Millcreek couple weighs decision of moving due to poor air quality

No one is immune to the dangers of air pollution. What if you had to choose between staying in Utah while risking a premature death, or leaving behind family, your career, and your roots to move somewhere new for the sake of your health? One Millcreek couple is facing that exact scenario. #yourlifeyourhealth

17 days ago

Jayde St. Clair (left) with her newborn child being held by her husband....

Emma Benson

How childbirth education classes can help moms prepare for labor

Intermountain Health is offering prenatal courses for parents that cover everything from pregnancy to labor and delivery to postpartum care.

24 days ago

Steve Adams on dialysis...

Emma Benson

Are you at risk for kidney disease? 

Steve Adams is not afraid of making friends, even at the dialysis center. 

1 month ago

Chris and Amy Pendleton chat in their Midway home. Doctors are treating Chris Pendleton's advanced ...

Emma Benson

New treatment helps Midway man live with advanced prostate cancer

Approximately one out of eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Chris Pendleton, of Midway, was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Thanks to a new treatment, he can continue to enjoy doing the things he loves.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

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