12 Hours of Mesa Verde Follow Up
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of being the race physician for the 2019 12 Hours of Mesa Verde, an outstanding charity MTB race that takes place in the Phil’s world area between Mancos and Cortez. It was a great event, and despite a 1 hour start delay due to mud on the course, was a well attended and great time as usual. Once things got running the course dried quickly and by the second lap I heard multiple riders raving about how fantastic the course was running.
Despite great conditions, there were a few injuries, which is to be expected in a MTB race of this distance, difficulty and size. One of the cases I saw was interesting and I think illustrates some of the ways that having a race physician can improve the experience and medical care for athletes injured during the event.
Later in the day I saw a racer who had injured their shoulder. Examination determined that they had a broken collarbone. Even more concerning, their fracture was demonstrating a condition known as “tenting” where the fractured bone end was pushing up the intact skin. Tenting is problematic as if left unaddressed the tension in the skin reduces circulation to the tented skin, and in a few days can lead to ulceration of the skin and the fracture becoming open. While most collarbone fractures could be managed without surgery, skin tenting is a relatively strong indication for surgery within a few days of injury, perhaps sooner if severe. Its also worth noting that newer surgical techniques have made surgical collarbone repair a preferred treatment for quicker return to sport, improved cosmetic and perhaps better functional outcome vs nonsurgical treatment.
So this out of town racer was confronted with a surgical urgency diagnosed in our treatment area at the race. Rather than having to undergo expensive ER care and potential surgery or difficult medical decisions away from home, I was able to help coordinate a better plan for this athlete. As they had a preferred orthopedic surgeon in their hometown from prior injury experience, I was able to speak with their orthopedist and discuss the situation and our concerns, and the surgeon made arrangements for the patient to be seen the following morning. The athlete was driven directly home by their spouse, and had surgery that week. They are doing well and expected to return to racing later this summer.
I wanted to share this as real case example of the benefits , peace of mind and cost savings that athletes can experience from having a sports physician on the race course to assist them. If you would like to talk about having a sports physician to assist athletes on your team or at your race, please email me.
It was a great day to be out for a race! The organizers, SW Memorial Hospital EMS and United SAR of Montezuma County all did a fantastic job to provide a safe and enjoyable event for all the racers and spectators. I have worked at other races that were not nearly as organized or well prepared and it was a pleasure to work with such a professional and well organized team.