Ger Victor is an advocate of helmet use whether you are biking to work, going on a long ride, or just buying at a nearby sari-sari store.
The popular cycling content creator, who recently breached the 100,000-subscriber mark on his YouTube channel, has the firsthand experience on the topic after he figured in an accident wherein a helmet saved his life in a race on August 13, 2017. At that time, Victor was already documenting his rides on video as well as through his blog ‘Bald Trekker.’
“I crashed,” Victor said during a recent episode of the SPIN Sidelines.“Medyo mahirap pa ikuwento pero my helmet was split into half. I went downhill, brakes malfunctioned, hindi ko na-kontrol, nag-overshoot, tumama yung katawan ko sa paanan ng bangin.”
“Malala eh. It’s a paralysis of the peripheral nerves sa left arm tapos hairline fracture sa cervical spine. Awa ng Diyos, naka-recover pero matagal yung sa braso. Actually, hanggang nagayon, kailangan ko pa rin i-therapy,” said Victor.
Victor’s injuries were very serious, but he considers himself very fortunate to survive the crash. His doctors told him he would not have survived if not for the helmet.
“‘Sabi nga ng doktor sa akin, alam mo kung wala kang helmet, dederetsuhin na kita, wala tayong pag-uusapan. Wala tayo dito,’” Victor recalled.
Of his two injuries, the left arm took the longest to heal.
Unable to bike because of his injuries, Victor admitted he was able to fight depression by watching cycling-related videos online, learning about different topics from long rides to the technical side of cycling that eventually became topics of his YouTube channel.
“Mabagal mag-recover ang nerves. Awa ng Diyos, hindi siya naputol. Ang mga nerves kasi, gapang kung gapang ang recovery. My neurologist, she told me that I was extremely lucky. Yung mga ganitong cases, hindi na bumabalik,” Victor said.
Once he got out of the hospital, Victor said one of the first things he did was to press the brakes of his bike. He rode a bike around their village for months, and sometime in 2018, he was able to do his first long ride since the accident.
“Matigas ulo ko nun. Sabi ng doktor ko, wag na muna ako mag-bike. Pero pagkalabas na pagkalabas ko ng hospital, tinitignan ko yung pinangba-bike to work ko, tapos pinipiga ko yung preno. Kaya na ba? Hindi pa. Mahina pa. Ultimo mag-nail cutter, hindi kaya. The hand was moving pero yung braso talaga, zero movement,” said Victor.
It was his desire to ride a bike again that motivated him to go into therapy.
After months of therapy, Victor finally went for a long ride from Manila to Pagudpod, which he documented and served as his comeback ride.
“Ang sarap. Para siyang second wind. Parang na-motivate ako na, ‘Sige, i-try natin maging aggressive sa therapy para makabalik ako,’” he said.
Because of his experience, Victor said he always makes it a point to wear a helmet, even in very short rides:“Everytime, kahit bumibili ako sa tindahan, medyo exag man para sa iba, pero para sa akin, kailangan ko talaga mag-helmet.”
And as the cycling community grows during this pandemic with people biking to work or embracing the sport as a new hobby or leisure activity, Victor advises everyone to invest in safety particularly on helmets.
“Nandiyan kasi, lalo na sa mga baguhan, yung excitement na mag-bike,” he pointed out.“Sa gitna ng excitement na ’to, huwag makakalimutan talaga yung safety, and one of the safety protocols is to wear a helmet. Very simple advice na napapansin ko na ang hirap sundan lalo na sa mga bago.
“Ang unang binibili bike, tapos nawawalan sila ng budget sa helmet. Buti pa nga kasi bumili na muna ng helmet eh bago mag-bike. Yung mga accidents, kaya nga aksidente [dahil] hindi natin maiiwasan eh. Ang magagawa lang natin is to minimize the risk. Once you are out there, nandoon yung danger at possible circumstances na hindi natin gusto. Always follow safety guidelines at follow safety protocols.”
NOTE: This article first appeared on Spin.ph. Minor edits have been made.