With two top Port Elizabeth institutions providing medical support, participants in the 27th edition of The Herald VW Cycle Tour will once again be in safe hands.
As in the past, Life Healthcare and Gardmed ambulance service will look after the safety of riders in the mountain bike and road events on February 4 and 5.
“They can rest assured that the highest level of care will be available,” said Gardmed owner Dave Gardner.
Two off-road emergency vehicles and an ambulance will cover the mountain bike course at Addo on the Saturday, while a response vehicle and four ambulances will be stationed along the road routes in PE on the Sunday.
In addition, trauma staff from Life St George’s and Life Mercantile hospitals will man the medical tents at the start/finish areas at the Addo Polo Club and Hobie Beach.
Gardner said collarbone fractures and skin abrasions were the most common injuries resulting from cyclists falling off their bicycles. “If we have hot weather like we’ve been having recently, then we’ll have to deal with problems like dehydration and collapse cases.”
He said medics would be positioned at various “high risk” spots along the mountain bike course.
“These aren’t necessarily the most difficult or inaccessible sections because they’re often the most technical and riders are going slowly. It’s usually when they’re tearing down the hills that the serious accidents can happen.”
Because certain remote areas had no cellphone reception, Gardner said members of the PE Amateur Radio Society would be on board to provide communications assistance.
On the road side, he said the response vehicle would follow the elite cyclists in the 105km Classic as the high speeds coupled with cross winds could create a hazardous situation.
The remaining ambulances would be positioned at key points along the course. “The marshals are in radio contact with the control centre and the vehicles will be dispatched to the scene from there.”
He said riders who needed to be monitored would be taken to the medical tent. If their condition were assessed as serious, a duty vehicle would transport them to hospital.
Dr Eddelene Smith, head of unit for ER Consulting, which manages Life St George’s emergency unit, said preparations were underway for the Eastern Cape’s largest cycling event. “As with any big event in PE, we make sure that we increase staff capacity and confirm the various specialists on call.”
Smith advised riders who fell and then experienced symptoms such as dizziness, disorientation, severe headaches, persistent vomiting or memory loss to visit the onsite medical tent immediately.
Physiotherapists will be on hand to alleviate cramping and tired muscles with free recovery massages at the finish.
Enter online at www.heraldcycletour.co.za or at any local cycling shop before January 30.
Alternatively, follow the race on Twitter (In_the_Bunch) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/TheHeraldCycleTour).
Life Healthcare and Gardmed ambulance service will look after the safety of riders at this year’s The Herald VW Cycle Tour. Pictured here are, from left, Dr Eddelene Smith (Life St George’s), Matthew Hayter, Dave Gardner (Gardmed) and Phoebe Fourie (Life St George’s).
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