Aug 052011

The following is a letter sent to Alexandria Fire Chief Adam Thiel by Alex Wurm, M.D. who was badly injured in a crash during a MTB race at Wakefield Park.  CRFP’s Jason Wehmeyer was in first place when he heard the crash behind him.  He heard Dr. Wurm’s urgent cry for help and went back to assist.

Dear Adam Thiel,

I am writing to describe to you the impressive character of one of your fire captains, Jason Wehmeyer, at my accident.  I’ll try to paint a brief picture for you.  I just this year got into mountain bike racing after years of riding.  I wanted to pack as many in this season before the birth of my second daughter (my wife is 7 mo. pregnant).  In any case at a mtb in wakefield park on Sunday July 24, I got off to a great start quickly drafting in second place off the leader in my age category.  I felt awesome, we were passing multitudes of riders who started 3 min ahead of us.  Roughly 3-4 miles into a 6 mile lap I wiped out crashing to the inside of a descending switchback landing hard on my right hip.  I struggled for an instant to “pop back” onto the bike like I have in several other crashes, only to feebly smash face first back to the dirt.  My body knew something was gravely wrong and I shouted for help as I lay immobile partially within the tricky single track section.  I feel like one to two riders from behind nearly hit me as they maneuvered past me.

Then help arrived from the forward direction.  He claimed he was an EMT in Alexandria and immediately got to work pulling my bike off the trail and making me as comfortable as possible.  I recognized the jersey that I had been following for the last several miles and realized the leader of the race had come back for me.  It was Jason Wehmeyer.   I was stunned by the level of sportsmanship I was witnessing.  The reaming series of events were a blur.  Jason contacted race officials slowed down advancing riders who threatened to wipe out themselves or run into me.  The race had provided their own EMT and the two of them worked out the complexities of the extraction (hilly single track under power lines no ambulance access etc.)  Honestly I don’t have the words to describe my gratitude of having Jason come back for me.  The rest of the crew was great, but Jason seemed to stand head over shoulders above the rest.  I was impressed with his leadership skills and abilities.  He provided me shade, standing in front of me, took off my helmet, shoes and socks, all of which greatly eased my discomfort.  Being an Interventional radiologist, I was almost positive that I had dislocated my right hip due to the mechanics of the fall and was in a significant amount of pain.  The greatest thing Jason did was distract me from the pain by conversation.  I even remember him making me laugh at moments despite the agony.  Jason stayed until the EMTs showed up despite having to work himself at noon that day.  He also took personal responsibility for my possessions including my bike and delivered them to the race officials.

I was taken to Inova fairfax where they discovered a horrible shattered right hip (comminuted displaced inter and sub-trochanteric femur fracture).  I was as shocked as anyone, I did not think the fall had the energy to cause that level of damage.  The trauma guys were great and I underwent surgery later that day with an intramedullary rod, 2 horizontal stabilizing screws, 2 intertrochanteric nails, and a transtibial retracting pin.  Now I’m recovering uneventfully at home struggling to find the right words to say to my pregnant wife whom I should be taking care of.

In summary I just wanted to extend praise to you and Jason.  You guys must be doing something really right there selecting and developing such character attributes as Jason’s to so unselfishly abandon his race victory to provide such skilled service and leadership during my crisis.   He has truly inspired me to be a better person.   I have been in contact with Jason and he is so humble he would not give me his address to send a thank you card, so I was hoping you may know of an office address where I could send one.


Alex Wurm, M.D.

CRFP Cycling would like to thank their sponsors Spokes Etc., Max Muscle, Wells P Wilson Photography, and MaxxEdge Cycling for their support.