The Tom Wheeler Project Part 1.

Aug 11, 2011 at 14:34
by Eyesdown Films  

Part 1 of The Tom Wheeler Project is now up on www.eyesdownfilms.tv

On the 26th March 2011 I took part in what seemed to be an average weekends racing. Little did I know that on this day my life would be changed for ever.

This 3 part series will give you an in sight in to my recovery and progress since the injury 4 months ago. Many of you might find it difficult to comprehend what has happened to me as I'm very similar to you, just an average guy who races bikes for fun. Its a dangerous sport and I always knew the risks involved. I now have a paralysed right arm but don't plan on letting it stop me from enjoying life, i just see it as a new challenge.

A huge thanks to my family, Mojo Suspension, the WDMBA Organisers and Staff at Morriston Hospital for helping me with every thing.

Always look forward, never look back.

EyesdownFilms.tv

Views: 16,995    Faves: 151    Comments: 14
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66 Comments

  • + 26
 This really make me think about how lucky I have been with some of the crashes and injuries I've had, the permanence of his injuries are really eye opening. I will be following this, Props for getting on here and talking about it.
  • + 4
 I'm totally with you there. I think about how many trees and rocks I've pile-driven my body and head into and it's kind of amazing to think we just walk away from some horrible stuff. I've become a huge Leatte Brace supporter and I swear mine has saved my neck a half dozen times.
  • + 1
 yeah same ive had a friend who probably would be parapeliegic or something similar right now if not for his leatte neck brace ( he crashed at the new crabbaple hits trail in whistler...HUGE JUMPS) ....anyways yeah do you think in this ^^^ situation a leatte neck would have helped him?
  • + 1
 It definitely wouldn't have hurt him
  • + 2
 At Whistler I landed on my face and didn't break my neck. Thanks Jesus!
  • + 0
 These are all reasons why i now ride with a chest protector, if he had one maybe this could have been avoided
  • + 0
 I doubt very much a Chest protector would of prevented his injury or any injury to be honest.
  • + 2
 For the record he was wearing a Spidi spine and chest protector.
  • + 3
 In my opinion the pros should be wearing pressure suits. Because ultimately they set the 'trend'. If they all had to wear one, then none of them are at a disadvantage and it may make the more average of us bikers wear them too. Which in turn will help prevent things like this happening. I came off my bike pretty bad recently and all I broke is a finger, I can't even imagine getting an injury like that. Good luck with the recovery (:
  • + 1
 Leatt most likely would not help in ths situation. The impact in this type of injury is to the shoulder with this stopping forward momentum causing a traction injury to the nerve bundle to the arm, not a neck injury. Basically the shouilder stops and the body keeps going. There is a slight possibility that it could stop the sidebend of the neck to reduce the traction to the plexus, but there have been a few cases where the downward compression of the Leatt on the clavicle could result in a nasty fracture which then can cut the subclavian artery underneath. Bottom line if you're relying on your Leatt often then you need to rethink your risk exposure.
  • + 1
 If I was analyzing the details of what a crash is doing to my body that deeply, I probably could not get on my bike and ride it. Your last statement is like saying that if you are relying on your helmet to help prevent T.B.I., then you shouldn't ride bikes in a dangerous way. Along that thread, you could argue that you should only engage in an activity to the point where ANY safety equipment is needed, and stop there because your risk exposure is too high. You could also argue that the need for the seat-belt to exist at all could be avoided if no one ever drove in cars. The fact that I believe my Leatt *probably* helped mitigate damage to my neck on various occasions may or may not be true, but I BELIEVE that it helps keep me safer doing a very UN-safe activity that I enjoy. Beyond demonstrating your knowledge of human anatomy, your argument could be summed up as "If you need to wear something to prevent injury during an activity, don't do that activity." I assume that, as you are a member of this website, you ride bikes too... and I doubt that you would stop riding bikes because your safety equipment *might* not prevent every single potential injury possible while riding. If it helps make a dangerous sport even a little safer, I don't see a problem... even after witnessing a friend break all kinds of OTHER bones because of his Leatt brace, but NOT his cervical vertebrae. And I've heard those are kind of important.
  • + 12
 very good insight into the accident. It was insane and proves how dangerous the sport can be. Hope the road to recovery goes well and ill be watching the next episodes for sure
  • + 8
 3. add and explain constructive criticism for the video/photo/article/product/story

Music behind the whole thing was very distracting. I struggled to hear what Tom had to say.
  • + 2
 With all due respect ( i think this is a great video project) I have to agree with Ben above. I could barely make out what the guy was saying. Just a suggestion to turn down the music a bit because, after all, this video is about his story...

Thanks
  • + 1
 I think the same, I couldnt really make what he was saying. Is his arm permanently paralized? Didnt catch why, just the eh broke the shoulder.

Hope Tom gets better soon!
  • + 6
 Classic 'last run' bad luck Similar thing happened to me at ft bill, just no where near as bad, 6th run thinking about food, over the bars and broke my wrist. Like i said NO WHERE NEAR AS BAD just silmiar last run crash good luck with the recovery and i hope your back soon
  • + 3
 Me and two mates were on holiday in Morzine. All was going well then on the last day my mate went off a north shore jump a bit too slow and now has a broken neck. Luckily he should make a full recovery and isn't letting it take over the fun in his life. Still going to ride once it's completely healed but really opens your eyes to how things can go wrong in this sport :/
Hope your recovery goes well.
  • - 8
flag akirizu (Aug 17, 2011 at 10:25) (Below Threshold)
 So wait... you were in Morzine and then some how teleported to Vancouver to hit a drop?! Woah....
  • + 3
 theres northshore in Morzine!!! lol
  • - 1
 The North Shore is a place. There are ladder bridges in Morzine.
  • + 6
 I know about the northshore in vancouver. i thought north shore was a general term for all ladder bridge type thing
  • + 9
 It's Ok Kettle, most brits call it that, don't be a dick Akirizu!
  • - 6
flag akirizu (Aug 17, 2011 at 13:54) (Below Threshold)
 You britts are silly sometimes.
  • + 3
 you pronounce 'out' 'oot' haha
  • + 0
 No that's how a newfoundlander speaks, the rest of Canada is normal.
  • + 4
 meh, ill take your word for it, not the best comback lol. im going to stop this here coz its got nothing to do with the injury.
  • + 4
 Good luck Tom - hope there is a chance that therapy can regenerate the nerve connection. I have had a temp paralysis of the right arm from a dislocated shoulder (and months of temp paralysis episodes) so have a small inkling of what it is like. Prayers and best wishes to you man.
  • + 7
 Touching video indeed! I shall be following this one for sure
  • + 3
 Hey Tom, good luck mate. I realise that it's a touchy subject but I notice Tom didn't seem to be wearing any upper body armour or neck brace, did they reckon any of that stuff could have prevented or lessened the effects of the crash? I think it's extremely important to learn from peoples experiences like this. Once again all the best bud.
  • + 0
 not necessarily my brother broke his collarbone wearing a full body with shoulder padding.
  • + 2
 That shot of Tom strapped to the backboard is tough to watch. I've been there, having broken my back twice and the uncertainty that enters your mind as you lay there is the worst part of it. But I was lucky both time and am still mashing DH and MX. Good luck with your recovery Tom, it's a long road ahead. Don't get discouraged and alway move forward no matter how difficult it is.
  • + 2
 Seems as though the big crashes come just when you are feeling your best. My biggest crash was a race up Meolfre, last practice run down, felt really pinned then just hit a rut wrong and I was off to hospital for some surgery on my collar bone. Always a good idea to keep reminding yourself that this is a dangerous sport even when you are feeling indestructible!
  • + 4
 Hey I feel your pain on that brother. I was doing a race here in S. Korea and I was feeling really fast and came into a narrow left turn with a tree on the inside apex of the turn and I leaned into the turn a little to much and cought my left shoulder on the tree and seperated it. Had surgery on it and now im out for a long while. DH is very dangerous and you gotta be on it at all times.
  • + 2
 Wow. So his right arm is permanently paralyzed? I'm so sorry.... I'm glad you posted this. I'm sure everyone is going to be a bit more careful when the ride now. Hope you get better soon!
  • + 2
 Good on ya mate. For every Descent we count our blessing.

"If god had intended us to fly, he would have given us wings. But for those he deemed worthy to fly, he gave us mountain bikes!"
~Dennis Busey
  • + 1
 This poor guy. Like he said he was just having a good time with his mates on their bikes, he was also riding within his ability and not doing anything stupid and then all of a sudden a life changing injury happens! This just goes to show how dangerous our sport can be and how things can go very wrong ithout any warning. I myself have ruptured a kidney and broken my arm but Tom's injuries make my previous ones look totally insignificant. I really wish you the best of luck in your recovery Tom and hope you manage to get back into the sport that you love so much.
  • + 1
 Tom your story is inspirational to always look forward never look back. It is a common thread for people who suffer this injury either through traumatic accidents like yours or through traumatic birth leaving permanent injury. There are many who suffer this injury who connect through an organisation called the UNited Brachial Plexus Network (www.ubpn.org). If anyone is interested check it out and meet others who share stories and experiences on the messageboards.

rich
president ubpn
  • + 2
 Tom your in are prayers, I hope by some miracle you get the use of your arm back and some day are able to get back on your bike an rip again.
  • + 1
 So sorry this has happened to you Tom but I like your spirirt and attitude, the attributes that made you an expert level rider are now focused on maximising your recovery and rehab. Best of luck to you mate.
  • + 1
 I look forward to the rest of the videos. Hopefully they will explore his injury more and offer advice on how to prevent similar injuries.
  • + 1
 I think you may have missed the point of this video. Although what your saying is valid I think the most important thing to learn is that with will power and love for the sport you can really have a positive attitude to something that would stop the vast majority of people from ever riding again. Tom, I wish you all the best with your recovery and I am sure your outlook will show to other people in the same situation that if riding is your passion then you should never stop trying to do it no matter what.
  • + 4
 That is the point of the video, but arguably the most important thing is to learn from experiences like this. Having a positive attitude is paramount after going through something like this, but finding out what preventative measures would have been effective is most important for those of us lucky enough to not have.
  • + 1
 @tomboulter Though i did not highlight Tom Wheeler's many admirable qualities I absolutely took notice of them. I to with Tom Wheeler nothing but the best and hope that he does fully recover. That said I would still like to know what happened and if there was any particular protective equipment that could have prevented his injury. Again Tom I wish you nothing but the best, Good luck!
  • + 2
 Good luck for the recovery and I hope it really touch the minds, that things really happened....
  • + 1
 Can't watch the vid at work, is it a broken neck?

Glad to hear Tom isn't letting his injury define what he can and can't do.
  • + 1
 paralyzed arm
  • + 1
 this is really touching and just makes me feel so thankful cus ive never had a bad injury like not even a broken finger or something
  • + 1
 i broke my back 4 month ago and i didnt have to wear a massive beasting neck brace like that! lol respect
  • + 1
 Best wishes brother !! Keep your thoughts positive and your chin up high !! We'll be looking out for ya !!
  • + 1
 Brilliant video, this will be a reality check for alot of people out there.
  • + 2
 man thanks nuts ill remember this every time i go bikeing
  • + 2
 all the best tom, dont give up at whatever your passions is at.
  • + 1
 @ akirizu, show some respect.
  • + 1
 he's a legend !!!! i will think of this every time i ride !!!
  • + 1
 be strong brother....all support from me
  • + 1
 Good Luck!
  • + 1
 good luck tom!
  • + 1
 defo following this
  • + 0
 lorrie who?
  • + 2
 Greenland
  • - 3
 Where was your neck brace Brother? ;-S
  • + 4
 Which would not have stopped a separated or fractured shoulder blade that compressed the brachial plexus nerve. Given the angle he speared in at a spine protector probably would not have helped prevent this injury in this crash either.
  • + 4
 The brace may have helped diffuse the impact to the shoulder - I was born with a brachial plexus injury at birth - it's about 1 in 200,000 - the only lottery I ever won. My right arm is slightly smaller, less mobile and weaker. I have it mild compared to others, born with the same thing. I don't know how it'll affect you long term Tom, I hope you regain your motor control , as much as you can to be able to do what you love. I never let mine get me down or stop me - I love mtbing, been doing it 20 yrs now and even took up white water kayaking, But for me, I knew no other, being born with the injury - for you, it'll take a bigger adjustment and commitment. It's a state of mind. Best of luck.
  • + 3
 ive seen the whole video of the crash, his head raps around the tree! a neck brace wouldn't have helped
  • + 2
 If anything i would think it would of been worse with a neckbrace.
  • + 2
 True that^^^^*

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