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MEEKER I Next time Drew Collins gets on a bicycle, he will be sure to wear a helmet.
Drew, 14, suffered a serious head injury July 29 when he hit a manhole cover while riding his bicycle on Sixth Street and crashed. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.
“He smacked his head so hard (on the pavement), he almost died,” said his mother, Candy Collins.
Drew now has a steel plate in his head.
“He still has headaches, but he’s doing real good,” Candy said. “We determined his head is not harder than concrete.”
At first, Candy didn’t think Drew’s injuries were all that serious.
“I almost didn’t take him to the hospital,” Candy said. “I thought, it’s a bike wreck. I had ’em as a kid. No big deal. But that little voice in my head said, take him to the hospital. It could’ve turned out so much worse.”
Drew, who will be a ninth-grader, remembers the moments leading up to the accident.
“I was coming down Sixth Street riding no-hands when I hit a manhole cover and I went over the handlebars,” Drew said. “When I woke up, I was in the street. I rode my bike to my grandma’s house. I told her my head hurt.”
Looking back now, Mary Anne Collins, Drew’s grandmother, can’t believe Drew was in any condition to get back on his bike.
“I don’t see how he could get up and ride to my house,” said Mary Anne, who lives at Fourth and Garfield.
At first glance, the most visible injuries Drew appeared to have were the abrasions and nasty road burns on his right hand and arm. But when he was examined at Pioneers Medical Center, a CT Scan revealed the seriousness of his head injury.
“He started crashing at the hospital,” his mom Candy said. “The blood was putting pressure on his brain.”
Drew was transported by a fixed-wing airplane from PMC to a hospital in Grand Junction.
“If we hadn’t gone (to Grand Junction) when we did … he would’ve been dead,” Drew’s grandmother Mary Anne said. “We’re lucky.”
The same day of Drew’s accident, while at the hospital in Grand Junction, Candy recognized someone from Craig who she used to work with at Colowyo. She found out later his son had been involved in a skateboard accident the day before, on July 28. The man’s son, who was 20, died the day of Drew’s accident.
“Apparently, they thought he had just broke his collarbone, and the next day he died from massive head trauma,” Candy said.
Candy realizes how close Drew came to possibly suffering a similar fate.
“We almost lost him,” she said. “It’s pretty obvious kids need to wear a helmet.”
After being flown to Grand Junction, Drew crashed again at the hospital. He was rushed into surgery, which lasted more than four hours.
“His bones were so fragmented on the side of his head, so they had to put a plate over it, that’s what took so long,” Candy said.
Drew came home from the hospital Aug. 1.
Back in Meeker, Drew was downtown one day last week when he saw a cousin of his riding by on his bicycle.
“Hey, Tony, where’s your helmet?” Drew said.
“I’m getting one,” Tony responded.
Next time Drew gets on a bicycle, he plans to wear a helmet, too.
“From now on I will,” he said.