Cyclists’ Recovery From Brain Injuries Can Be Slow, But Death Rate Has Dropped


(Washington Post) – On the day that would change his life forever, Ryan Brown went on his regular morning run. He rode his bicycle the quick mile to work at the U.S.

Trademark and Patent Office in Alexandria, Va., where he was an examiner for plant molecular biology patents. Late in the afternoon, he headed home to take his two sons to dinner while his wife finished teaching a piano lesson. He never made it.

Barely a block from the family’s apartment — within sight of their back patio — an elderly woman ran a red light just as Brown was riding through the intersection. She hit him in the crosswalk, the collision throwing him 50 feet. He was critically injured and unconscious when an ambulance arrived.

Without his bike helmet, “I think he would be dead,” says Babak Sarani, a trauma surgeon at George Washington University Hospital in the District.

The 16 months since the crash have taken Brown and his family on a wrenching loop of despair, hope and slow recovery. Tens of thousands of bicyclists in this country are hurt annually in traffic crashes, and too many face devastating injuries and uncertain futures. In 2015, the latest year for which federal data is available, 818 of these cyclists died. That number has been climbing of late. CONTINUE