'It's a miracle': Cyclist lucky to keep arm following gruesome weekend crash in Provo

A cyclist suffered a serious arm injury during a race in Provo on Saturday.

A cyclist suffered a serious arm injury during a race in Provo on Saturday. (Caitlin Boyes)

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PROVO — A cyclist is recovering in a Utah hospital after suffering a gruesome arm injury during a race in Provo on Saturday.

California-based cyclist Ryan Jastrab was rounding one of the final turns on the last lap of the Salt Lake Criterium race in Provo Saturday night when his right arm struck a metal barricade on the outside of the track, according to a couple of eyewitnesses. The impact nearly severed his arm near his shoulder, with only a bit of skin holding it together, one bystander said.

Video of the incident captured by a spectator shows Jastrab flip over the handlebars of his bike shortly after impact and come to a rest sitting in apparent shock on the road.

"It was literally right in front of the finish line," said Lance Williams, a spectator who witnessed the crash. "The finish line was right there, so they were all just scrambling and pushing as hard as they could."

Williams said a woman immediately ran over to Jastrab and used a man's belt to fashion a makeshift tourniquet before emergency responders arrived. Paramedics arrived shortly after and transported Jastrab to a nearby trauma center.

"It was like out of a movie," Williams said. "When somebody dies in a war movie or something — that's what it looked like. I thought he was going to die for sure."

Quinn Peterson, the executive director of Downtown Provo Inc., was also nearby and saw Jastrab being loaded into an ambulance.

"(His arm) was literally removed from his body," he said. "It sounds quite extreme, but it's really what happened."

KSL.com identified Jastrab as the rider based on social media posts, including one from a teammate of his on Team Six Cycling. That teammate told Peterson that Jastrab had undergone successful surgery to reattach his arm and said the cyclist was in "good spirits." Several individuals said Jastrab already appears to have some feeling and movement back in his hand.

A paramedic who was at the scene of the crash told KSL.com the cyclist was "extremely lucky" that responders were able to get him in an ambulance within minutes because delays in care for such injuries can often lead to loss of limb.

"It's a miracle," the paramedic said of Jastrab's surgery.

Team Six Cycling manager Jeffrey Bowens declined to comment on Jastrab's injuries without permission from the cyclist but indicated he will likely be able to return to California soon.

Eric Gardiner, executive director of the Salt Lake Criterium, said crashes are not uncommon in criterium racing given the relatively small track size of several city blocks but expressed concern for Jastrab.

"It's a common occurrence in this type of racing just because it's so fast on such a small course," he said. "They've happened to me before, too — obviously not to this serious extent — but it's a sad side of their sport, and I'm glad he's going to recover."

Gardiner disputed the extent of the injury and said it was his understanding that the cyclist's bicep muscle was torn and reattached.

A spokeswoman for USA Cycling, the sport's governing body, declined to comment.

Several commenters on social media expressed concern with the barriers used in the race, and Bowens said there's been a push in the sport to use closed or covered barriers rather than the metal barriers with slats across them like those used Saturday.

"It makes no sense," he said. "If you stick a body part through there, something's going to happen when you're going like 40 miles an hour. It's just not safe. There have been quite a few injuries this year in the cycling world regarding barriers, and I've also seen some crashes this year where barriers are closed or covered and people come out with way less injuries."

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Bridger Beal-Cvetko covers Utah politics, Salt Lake County communities and breaking news for KSL.com. He is a graduate of Utah Valley University.


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