Day 5, still not completely melted… #TransAmRide4TBI 

Woke up early at the hotel. We determined night before that we needed to lighten our load. We had already shipped some things back in Portland, but more stuff needed to go. With the heat and climbing we just couldn’t afford the weight. 
After pulling stuff out we really didn’t need, took it to post office and shipped it, w again hit the road. Again the day was comfortable to start, but the heat quickly reared its ugly head. We again hit 115F, and it just stayed hot the whole way.

We again started with some climbing, and reached a new high of 5277ft. Hair short of a mile, but since I stand almost 6ft, and my bike saddle is at least 3ft off the ground I’m officially counting it as a mile. 

On the first climb, our wonderful hostess, Amber, at the hotel had recommended a spot with gorgeous scenery we had to check out. We were told to look for the covered wagon. When we reached it, w still had some climbing to do before that summit, and almost continued on. We opted instead though to take her advice and it was worth it. 

After several climbs though we were back down into the blast furnace again. There were no more big climbs, just rollers, but great still took its toll. We just kept working our way along. Taking rest breaks wherever we could find shade. Drinking lots of water, and taking our electrolytes. 

Just short of our intended destination we stopped in Willowcreek, OR. Wasn’t much there, but we found a nice shade tree by a school baseball field. While we were there trying to cool off a bit before our final stretch, a wonderful local, John, stopped to ask us about where we were going. Had a great chat with him, he gave us a couple cold beers (thank you John! We needed it, and made last stretch much easier. God bless!), and recommended us an affordable hotel, which sounded much better than the RV park in the sun we had planned on camping at. 

I again struggled through the final miles. Heat again taking its toll, but was still a beautiful and fun ride. 

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI 

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Day 1, prologue: #TransAmRide4TBI 

Sunday morning came, and it was time to uu stuffed us with and incredible breakfast and coffee, and we were ready to start. 
Early going was slow getting out of town. Had to stop for light after light. But we eventually got out into the countryside and the ride improved tremendously. Jr took the lead so I could draft of him and therefore, share some of the load. I was pulling the only trailer, with all the gear we’d need until we got back to Portland. So despite him being on a slower bike, it was still balancing things out a bit. This ride will be about a lot of sharing. 

Met a wounded veteran along the way, and talked with him for a while. Great guy (Thank you for your service!). We made good time to and through Tillamook State Park (what a beautiful park!) Had some vertical to climb over, but nothing bad. Coming to end of park and mountains the head wind became bad. I felt bad for Jr but he kept grinding out the miles and we steadily worked our way to the ocean. 


After reaching the Pacific, we grabbed a quick snack, and celebratory beer (to toast official start of our ride from coast to coast). While there, met a nice gentleman who asked us about what we were doing, and have me a cash donation. 
After that we started our return ride to Portland (instead of route we had planned). It was much easier and faster going back with the fierce wind at our backs. We made quick time, and just before returning to Tillamook State Park, we stopped for dinner. After dinner was a short ride to place we stopped to camp. All told on the day, we had covered 130mi. Had a beautiful campsite to top it off…

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI 

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Day 2, Return to Portland & beyond #TransAmRide4TBI 

Woke up Monday morning, broke camp, and got back on the bikes. Jr filtered some water from our steam to fill out bottles for the ride.  We didn’t bring cook stove for this shortened, unplanned, part of trip, so ate granola bars for breakfast as we went. 

The ride was pretty easy going back. Beautiful day to ride, and incredible scenery along the way. Arrived back in Portland in good time. 

Thankfully, when we got back to our host, and hostesses house, our host, George, had Jr’s bike! It took us a couple hours, but we got his bike put together, returned the rental (Thanks again Upcycle bikes!), and got both trailers and our gear ready to set again. Lily again stuffed us with an incredible meal, and we were off. 

Didn’t have enough day left to go far, but made another 30 miles up the road. Getting us a few more miles east, and closer to our destination of NYC. 

Along the way, had a wonderful chat with lady working gas station. Filled up our tank (for my backpacking stove) for 50 cents. Then made quick stop at grocery, where we met an great family (husband, wife, daughter, and son), and had a great chat with them. From there it was just a few miles to the campground, where had another horrible campsite 😉

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI 

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Last day pre #TransAmRide4TBI 

I landed in Portland shortly after noon, Saturday, July 8, the day before we were to start our ride. Our wonderful hostess, Lily, picked me up at the airport. And that is when I learned we had a problem. My ride partner, Doug (aka Jr for being younger of us two Dougs), didn’t have a bike. His hasn’t shown up yet. 

Friday afternoon, knowing his bike hadn’t arrived he called UPS, and found out they had tried to deliver twice, unsuccessfully (needed signature). Jr arranged for them to hold bike at warehouse and Lily would pick up. Unfortunately she got to warehouse Saturday morning and they had no idea where bike was. So when she picked me up she was quite upset. 

She took me home and i started reassembling my bike and getting my stuff ready while she called UPS multiple times trying to find Jr’s bike. 

While she was doing that I found tear in my bike box and realised my bike computer and of other critical item, gripper for my cooking set,  were missing. Went online, filed claim, and went of in search of replacement. Went to REI where helpful salesman helped me find replacement for both. 

Jr’s flight landed shortly after and I had to break bad news to him. He quickly found local bike shop online, called, and arranged for a rental to start our ride. Upcycle bikes in Portland, OR, started open a bit late, and set him up with a good bike. (Thanks guys, you rock!)

So we got my bike and trailer and the rental ready for the ride to the Pacific Ocean and back. We only could take one trailer, so went minimal, and set my bike up to pull it. Rental was good bike, but it was a hybrid, with fatter, lower pressure tires, and standard pedals, so it was more work than his road bike to ride that distance, therefore made sense for me to take trailer. 

Plan was to ride to Pacific, and then instead of heading south east from there as planned, return to Portland Monday morning and hope Jr’s bike would show up. 

Not a great way to start the trip, but we were ready…

#TransAmRide4TBI 3600mi for #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI 

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Pre #TransAmRide4TBI prep

I’ve been meaning to write about my training and preparations regularly as the ride grew nearer, but only managed a couple of posts. Life got in the way. As important as this ride is to me, spending time with my wife, and fur babies, getting things done around the house, and at work, all were higher priorities at the time. They are still important, but ride time is here. 

I’m currently sitting on a plane headed to our start point in Portland, OR. Upon arrival I have reassemble my bike, and trailer. Get my gear loaded, and everything set to start riding first thing tomorrow morning. We will actually head west first from Portland to get to our true start point, the Pacific coast. Monday we will start working our way east through Salt Lake City, and Denver, working our way to Battery Park in Manhattan. 

I’ve put in my training miles on bike and run, my legs as ready as they will get. I’ve practiced pulling my loaded trailer, and climbed thousands of feet worth of hills. I’m feeling strong, and ready, and I’m excited to begin this adventure. My ride partner, Douglas Forsyth, aka Jr (because he’s the younger of the two of us Dougs), will be arriving a few hours after me. My bike and trailer have been there waiting for me since Thursday. 

It feels great to not only be about to set it on a coast to coast bike ride, but also to be doing my part to raise awareness and money for traumatic brain injuries (TBI). This is an injury that too many suffer every year, and often with delayed and missed diagnosis. Symptoms can take days or weeks before showing and sometimes months before being recognized. Very few people know all the signs and symptoms of brain injury, and therefore don’t realize they have one, and they are often disbelieved as no one can actually see their injury. Too often they suffer alone. I’m riding to help bring TBIs to light. 

Please follow me on my journey and share with those you know. I’m doing this ride unsupported (pulling everything I need in my trailer), and self funded in support of The Brain Injury Association of New York State. You make donations online, and follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. You can read official press release on BIA of NYS website

Thank you! 

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Recognizing Traumatic Brain Injuries #TBIs & #mTBIs

A common misbelief is that Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), even mild TBIs (mTBIs) are easily recognizable, and that the individual knows that they have one. There is also misconception that concussions, and other mTBIs involve loss of consciousness, severe headaches, and memory loss. Though those are three symptoms, they are not the only ones, and not everyone that has a concussion or mTBI has all or sometimes any of those symptoms. Another false belief is that symptoms occur immediately after head trauma, though some do, but it can sometimes take hours, days, or even weeks for symptoms to show. There can be a long enough period of time between head trauma and onset of symptoms that the individual, and even doctors, sometimes don’t link the two together. One other mistake that is made is thinking just because the individual didn’t get hit in the head, therefore no TBI/mTBI occurred. This is also wrong. Just like in shaken baby syndrome, the head can be violently shaken, or a sudden deceleration, can cause the brain to sort of slosh in the skull and impact against the inside of the skull causing injury. This is common with automobile injuries and whiplash.

Just like with most injuries, brain injuries can range from mild to severe.  TBIs result in permanent neurobiological damage which may produce lifelong problems or changes for the individual.

Moderate to severe TBIs usually refer to injuries that are defined as:

  • Moderate TBI is a brain injury that results in a loss of consciousness from 20 minutes to 6 hours and a Glasgow Coma Scale of 9 to 12
  • Severe TBI is a brain injury resulting in a loss of consciousness of greater than 6 hours and a Glasgow Coma Scale of 3 to 8

How much impact a moderate to severe TBI has depends on a number of things: Severity of initial injury, speed and degree of physiological recovery, functions affected, meaning of dysfunction to the individual, help and resources available to aid recovery, areas of function not affected by the TBI.

Moderate to severe TBI affects and symptoms can include: cognitive, language and speech, sensory, perception, vision, hearing, smell, taste, physical changes, social/emotional changes, and seizures.

Cognitive deficits can include difficulties with: attention, concentration, distractibility, memory, speed of processing, confusion, perseveration, impulsiveness, language processing, and executive functions.

Language and speech symptoms include: receptive aphasia (not understanding the spoken word), expressive aphasia (difficulty speaking and being understood), slurred speech, speaking very fast or very slow, problems reading, and problems writing.

Sensory symptoms include: difficulties with interpretation of touch, temperature, movement, limb position and fine discrimination.

Perception symptoms include: the integration or patterning of sensory impressions into psychologically meaningful data.

Vision symptoms include: partial or total loss of vision, diplopia (weakness of eye muscles and double vision), blurred vision, depth perception problems, judging distance, nystagmus (involuntary eye movements), and photophobia (intolerance of light).

Hearing symptoms include: decrease or loss of hearing, tinnitus, (ringing in the ears), and increased sensitivity to sounds.

Smell symptoms include: anosmia (loss or diminished sense of smell).

Taste symptoms include: a loss or diminished sense of taste.

Physical Changes may include: physical paralysis/spasticity, chronic pain, control of bowel and bladder issues, sleep disorders, loss of stamina, appetite changes, difficulties with regulation of body temperature, and menstrual difficulties.

Social-Emotional may include: dependent behaviors, changes in emotional ability, lack of motivation, irritability, aggression, depression, disinhibition, denial or lack of awareness of problem(s).

Seizures: convulsions associated with epilepsy may be of several types and can involve disruption in  consciousness, sensory perception, or motor movements.

TBIs can be classified as mild if loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation is less than 30 minutes. While MRI and CAT scans are often normal, the individual has cognitive problems such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration. These injuries are commonly overlooked.  Even though this type of TBI is called mild, the effect on the family and the injured person can be devastating and long lasting. (Other names for mTBI: concussion, minor head trauma, minor TBI, minor brain injury, and minor head injury)

mTBIs are the most prevalent TBIs and are often missed at time of initial injury. Approximately 15% of people with mild TBI have symptoms that last one year or more. They are defined as the result of the forceful motion of the head or impact causing a brief change in mental status (confusion, disorientation or loss of memory) or loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes. Post injury symptoms are often referred to as post concussive syndrome, and symptoms can show up 7-10 days after the injury and last weeks, months, or even years.

Common symptoms of mTBI can include: fatigue, headaches, visual disturbances, memory loss, poor attention/concentration, sleep disturbances, dizziness/loss of balance, irritability-emotional disturbances, feelings of depression, and seizures. Additional symptoms can include: nausea, loss of smell, sensitivity to light and sounds, mood changes, getting lost or confused, and slowness in thinking

With all TBIs, including mTBIs, symptoms may not be present or noticed at the time of injury.  It may be hours, days, or weeks before they appear and by the time they do, sometimes the head trauma is forgotten about and the cause of the symptoms is difficult to determine. Symptoms are often subtle and are often missed by the injured person, family and doctors. The person looks and often moves normal in spite of not feeling or thinking normal.  This makes the diagnosis easy to miss, and family and friends often notice changes in behavior before the injured person realizes they have a problem. Frustration at work or when performing daily tasks may finally bring the person to seek medical care.

***This summer, beginning July 9, 2017, I will be riding my bike (with a friend), unsupported, and self funded from the west to the east coast to raise awareness and money for #TBI. Please follow along as I train and prepare for the ride, and as we make our way steadily eastward during the ride. We will be pulling trailers behind or bikes with camping gear, food, water, clothes, etc. I will post regular updates on this blog, as well as on social media, in addition to more info on TBIs. All donations (donation website is active) greatly appreciated and go to charity (Brain Injury Association).

Donation WebsiteFacebook PageTwitter Feed, and Instagram Page

My training (and daily ride) can also be found on the following:

Strava, DailyMile, MapMyRide, and MapMyRun

Posted in #TransAmRide4TBI, Athlete, Athletic Trainer, Athletic Training, Athletics, bike, Brain Injury Awareness, Brain Injury Awareness of New York State, concussion, Concussion, crash, Cycling, education, Emergency, Emergency Medical Training, Injury, Injury Prevention, Medical, Not Alone In Brain Injury, Prevention, Race, rehabilitation, return to play protocol, Running, Sports Medicine, TBI, Training, TransAmRide4TBi, Traumatic Brain Injury, Triathlon, Youth Safety | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Riding for Awareness of Traumatic Brain Injury

Since I have decided to dedicate this summer’s coast-to-coast bike ride to raising awareness and money for traumatic brain injury (TBI), it is only fitting that I start writing about it as well. So for the next couple of months leading up to the ride (which we plan to start on July 9th), and during the ride itself, not only will I be writing about my training, preparations, and the ride itself, I will be writing about TBIs as well.

I have never suffered a TBI myself, despite the numerous times I have hit my head on things or been hit in the head (not all blows to the head cause a TBI), but I work with them on a regular basis. I am an athletic trainer, which is in the field of sports medicine, and I have been working with athletes for over 20 years. I currently evaluate over 50 head injuries a year, with a good number of them being concussions. Most of them have recovered quickly and simply, but I have had a couple that did not, and the individuals suffered the effects for quite some time. I have also known several people that have had more severe TBIs that were life altering, and from which they will never fully recover. TBI is a part of my life and something that concerns me.

Concussions are often referred to as mild TBIs (mTBI) though some of them can take months, years, or may never fully resolve. A common misconception is that concussions only happen in football, soccer, hockey, or that they only happen in sports. I have seen concussions in pretty much every sport. While football, soccer, and hockey may lead the way, I have seen them in tennis, squash, fencing, track, cross country and pretty much every sport I have worked with. The fact of the matter is they, like all TBIs, can happen to anyone anywhere. Car accidents, slips and falls, falling objects, and more can happen at any time. I actually know of someone that got a concussion while lying in bed at home. A window mounted AC unit came loose and landed on their head while they were sleeping.

Another misconception about concussions and TBI is that the person knows that they have them, or that you can look at someone and know whether they have one. The facts are though that often the individual may go days, weeks, or even months before they realize they have a problem and not even a neurologist can simply look at someone and determine whether they have a TBI. The list of concussion symptoms is quite long, and just because someone was not knocked unconscious or never had a head ache does not mean that they did not, or are not, suffering a TBI. This is a hidden injury, and victims often suffer alone because others do not see anything wrong with them. Their continually knocking things over or tripping over nothing is not their being clumsy, it is a result of their TBI. The slurred speech, stutter, or tripping over words that you are mocking them for is not their fault. Their forgetfulness is not them. Their continual fatigue is not their being lazy. They have a serious injury with which they are struggling.

My ride this summer is to help raise awareness about TBIs, and to raise money which will help those that suffer from them. Please follow along as I prepare for and as I ride from the west to the east coast. I will post of my adventures as well as more information about TBIs and helpful links. Please consider donating to my ride (All money raised goes directly to charity. I am self-funding my ride). 

#TBI #mTBI #TraumaticBrainInjury #BrainInjuryAwareness #BrainInjury #NotAlone
#NotAloneInBrainInjury #Concussion #TransAmRide4TBI

Posted in #TransAmRide4TBI, Athletic Trainer, bike, Brain Injury Awareness, Brain Injury Awareness of New York State, concussion, Concussion, crash, Cycling, Injury, Not Alone In Brain Injury, Running, Sports, Sports Medicine, TBI, TransAmRide4TBi, Traumatic Brain Injury, Triathlon, Youth Safety | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment