Chasing the dream with Caleb Brown: knocked the wind out of me

It was a regular summer day at Fernie Alpine Resort, I was working on the trail crew still at this time but it was my day off. During those summers I would work five days a week building and testing the trails, then spend my two days off riding the resort. I would literally spend every single day at the ski hill for 2 months, and love every minute of it.

That day I was riding with a few buddies and we went to ride this new section I had been working on. That week we had removed two massive stumps and made a gap so you could jump from one trail to another. I came in first, launching from what used to be called Power Trip onto Mister Berms which led right into a corner. I came in fast but I came up short and my bike stayed where it landed. I shot forward with all of my momentum over Mister Berms and into the inside of the corner. Unfortunately we had thrown all of the chunks of the stumps we had removed earlier in the week into the inside of this corner and I went tumbling through the debris.

When I came to rest I couldn’t breathe. I had knocked the wind out of me. I struggled to remove my helmet trying to breathe, but could not inhale even the slightest of air. I rolled on the ground as my friends gathered around me. I couldn’t breathe for so long I began to think I was going to pass out before any breath would enter my lungs.

Finally, a slight gasp of air entered and I painfully regained my composure. Everyone was asking me questions but I could not answer. After what felt like an eternity I spoke and said that I was fine, I just needed a minute and I would ride down.

I tried to stand up but could hardly move. We were close to the top of the Elk Chair so I tried to walk uphill but only made it a few metres and collapsed. Something was not right. One member of the crew jumped on their bike and ripped down to get help, soon after a patroller on a quad came to my rescue and drove me down the base area where my friend Tanner was waiting. It was an uncomfortable ride to the hospital, both for me and Tanner who had to watch me in pain all the way.

The initial impact had missed my spine by a centimetre and the doc said I had broken five or more ribs. Luckily I had not punctured my lung and had to spend only a few hours in emergency hooked up to an I.V. and oxygen mask.

These extreme sports are dangerous. It’s through tough times such as these that our greatest lessons are learned.

The Free Press does not endorse any dangerous activities that may or may not lead to injury.

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