On August 24, 2013, at approximately 9:30 AM Ramsey was about 7 miles into the ride on Monarch Crest Trail. In literally the blink of an eye, his world as he knew it was drastically changed. And yet that same moment was later celebrated with thanksgiving in deep appreciation for the goodness of people and the pure joy of life.
Near the Green's Creek intersection, Ramsey attempted to make an adjustment to the rear shocks on his bike and took his eyes off the trail. In that brief instant, he hit a rock and was thrown over the handlebars and landed on his neck. His inability to get up confirmed within him the seriousness of his injury. A hiker arrived first on the scene followed by Barry, one of the friends Ramsey was biking with that day. Barry was carrying a Delorme InReach device and at 9:36 AM issued an SOS providing exact coordinates of their location to Chaffee County Search and Rescue. Amazingly the next two people down the trail were a physician’s assistant, Sam (Samantha) and a nurse, Scott. Josh, the 3rd person biking in the group that day had been waiting for the other two to come along and eventually biked back up to find them. Scott and Sam helped stabilize his neck and along with Barry and Josh, comforted, talked with, distracted, and Sam even provided the warmth of her body to keep Ramsey warm and to prevent him from going into shock. Numerous people riding the trail dropped jackets for additional warmth. Never losing consciousness, Ramsey would remain lying where he fell to battle pain and fear for over 4 hours.
At 12:24 the Chaffee County Search and Rescue Team began to arrive and the Flight for Life helicopter that had been put on standby took flight from St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver. By 1:04 the rescue team had transported Ramsey to the helicopter landing site. The helicopter landed at 1:38 and at 1:55PM Ramsey was lifted off the mountain.
St. Anthony’s Trauma team confirmed Ramsey’s suspicions. He had broken his neck (C-2) and suffered a vertebral artery dissection. To everyone’s amazement, there was absolutely no nerve damage. The helicopter nurse said that for the first time in his 25 year career and 22 years of flying, he transported someone with Ramsey’s injuries who was later able to walk.
Ramsey returned to Salida on Thursday, September 5 wearing a Miami J collar with instructions to wear it 24/7 for the next three months and taking blood thinners for 6 months to reduce the chance of a stroke due to the vertebral artery dissection.
Ramsey worked as a Colorado State Public Defender for a little over 4 years, and in December of 2012 he resigned and opened his own law practice as a solo practitioner. As such his business will be on hold until he makes sufficient recovery to return to his practice. While we anticipate a full recovery, the time required is unknown. These early weeks are critical. At this point doctors are hopeful the neck will stabilize and he will have no need of surgery. Only time will reveal if hopes become reality. Ramsey has incurred significant medical expenses and as a solo practitioner has temporarily lost the ability to bring in income.