After qualifying third fastest yesterday, Brook Macdonald crashed on his first training run of the day at the 'La Tarzan' rock drop in the middle woods. He had to be evacuated off the mountain with a spinal injury.
Those on the scene said it was a really heavy crash and that Brook was in a lot of pain and couldn't feel his legs. His crash happened around 12:05, a helicopter was called at 12:43 by one of the two doctors on site, and he was evacuated almost four hours
after the incident happened. By the time he was air-lifted he reportedly did have some feeling in his legs. MS Mondraker has since said that Brook has fractured two vertebrae and he will undergo surgery soon.
This evening, a UCI Safety meeting was held to debrief on the situation. The athletes and team managers in attendance expressed concern and discontent at the response time for the accident. The event organizers said that they were following UCI event protocol and that they were constrained by Quebec's response emergency system. The system sends the army in for a life-threatening situation and has to call a private helicopter company, Air Medic
, in an urgent but non-life-threatening situation.
Apparently, because Dr. Geneviève Rochette was able to stabilize Brook on-site and monitor his vitals, Brook's situation was deemed not life-threatening, so it was Air Medic that was responsible for sending a helicopter. Event organizers believed that the response time from Air Medic would be 50 minutes, but since the pilot was on standby, it was an additional 50 minutes before the helicopter arrived. Once it arrived, it had a difficult time landing which further delayed the response time.
As a result of this event, for tomorrow’s race, the emergency response team is reviewing all the places that a helicopter can land, debriefing first responders on how to secure the scene for the helicopter to land, and the event organizers will be paying to have a helicopter pilot available at the heli base off-site. The response time for a non-life-threatening injury should be reduced to 50 minutes. For a life-threatening situation, it was explained that the army will be on site with their helicopter within 20 minutes.
Another change is that there have been some roots cut out just before the take-off on the feature where Brook and several others crashed. Reece Wilson crashed and concussed himself on the same feature after they reopened that part of the course.
We will update the story with more information as we get it. We wish Brook all the best for a full recovery.Updates: