Rick and Jenanne Brown
Jenanne and Rick Brown, December 2001

Rick Hit By Glider
Date: March 8, 2002
From: Rick Brown

A week ago Thursday, I was riding my mountian bike back to the airport where
I live and work (at about 5:30 PM), after normal hours. As was my custom I
looked for any traffic for the last fifteen minutes approaching the runways
and particularly scanned the landing pattern just before taking a short-cut
up the side of one of our gravel runways. My second mistake was not turning
off and removing my ear-plug radios before entering onto the runway. My
third mistake was not realizing that at this time, sunset, pilots landing
would be just about completely blind.

I was struck from behind by a landing glider, just as it touched down with
about a 50mph closing speed. Although I was never knocked out, that first
minute, laying there wondering when I might again be able to breathe seemed
to take forever. As the first people ran up to me, I was already telling
them that I had broken ribs (I could feel them moving) and a ruptured spleen
and maybe other internal injuries. I was also immediately telling the pilot
that it wasn't his fault, that I should have known that he couldn't see
under the circumstances.

I'll cut to the chase now. I had two broken ribs, a spleen that was
lacerated in five places, four of them blessedly minor, a severly lacerated
pancreas. And a bruise that completly covered the left half of my lower back
and side. I took a very expensive and unconfortable helicopter ride, had
trauma surgery, was able to repair the spleen and pancreas and spent a
couple of days in the ICU and a couple of more days in the hospital before I
could get out. Today I had the stitches out and even took a 1/4 mile walk
back over to the airport office and back.

I am considering myself blessed indeed that God was watching over me. If the
wing had hit me left or right, up or down even a couple of inches I might be
dead or paralyzed. As it is, I'm sore, real sore.

My bruises will heal, my ribs will heal and my faith will be stronger.

Feeling blessed by God,
Rick Brown

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