Sailor recovers from collision with truck while cycling
June 21, 2022 - Royal Canadian Navy
S1 Marie-Neige Dupuis-Carbonneau, a member of the Stadacona Band, is recovering after being struck last year by a vehicle while on her bicycle.
Using a safety buoy allowed S1 Marie-Neige Dupuis-Carbonneau to get back in the water with her triathlon teammates without putting stress on her injuries.
By Joanie Veitch
Last June, Sailor 1st Class (S1) Marie-Neige Dupuis-Carbonneau, a clarinetist with the Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy in Halifax, was hit by a pick-up truck while riding her bike home from work.
The accident changed everything.
“He didn’t see me at all,” she said of the driver who was part of the crew repairing the road.
“I was clipped and my bike got pulled under the bumper with me still on it. I grabbed onto the bumper so I wouldn’t get pulled under the wheels. I was yelling, but he couldn’t hear me.”
A bus driver behind the truck called out to the work crew and together they got the truck driver’s attention.
Shaken, bleeding and covered in road rash on her right side, S1 Dupuis-Carbonneau was taken by ambulance to hospital. While scans showed no major damage, she was in a lot of pain and spent four days in hospital. Among her many injuries, she had torn ligaments in her left leg, damaged cartilage in her chest and a shoulder injury that turned out to be more significant than originally thought.
By the end of August, S1 Dupuis-Carbonneau had recovered to the point where she began swim training with members of the Navy Tridents Triathlon Club.
“I had a pool buoy between my legs and just used my upper body to pull me along…but I could feel that I was beginning to build up my strength again,” she said.
Even though her triathlon buddies stopped their outdoor training swims in the fall, but S1 Dupuis-Carbonneau carried on. In addition to the inflatable swim buoy, she added extra gear – a wetsuit, a neoprene swim cap and surf gloves.
“After the accident I felt anxious. I was grieving the loss of my fitness. I still feel that, but swimming in cold water has helped me so much,” she said. “The cold water forces you to focus on breathing, relax and take things slowly.”
Before the accident, S1 Dupuis-Carbonneau was captain of her unit’s Navy Bike Ride team and would regularly ride 300 kilometres or more. Last April she got back on her bike for the first time since the accident.
“It’s the same route I used to ride. It felt a bit weird the first time I went past the spot where the accident happened, a bit emotional,” she said, noting that she no longer feels invincible like she once did.
Looking forward, S1 Dupuis-Carbonneau now sets short-term goals for herself, so she doesn’t get disappointed. By the end of the summer, she hopes to run a slow 5 km.
“I think I can do it, but I’ll have to take it gradually.”
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