Mountains are dirty and full of rocks. That makes them hard on people who are moving at great speeds to complete a course because any misstep can cause a fall.
When you have athletes that are training in mountainous regions, I always remind people that mountains are made of ROCKS.
Yes ROCKS, and rocks can kill people, even nice, cute people. Depending on if you are in a volcanic mountain or other type of mountain, let’s just agree that all mountains are full of rock.
Rocks get caught up in stuff, they also really hurt and always break skin when you fall on them. Rocks can cause crazy bruises. Bruises are like a scab on the inside, and you will know instantly when you’re about to bruise the living crap out of your leg, because it will turn color quickly.
If it looks like the bruise on a large muscle group is going to be under the size of a fist, as the Trail Driver I really don’t worry that much. But, if it looks like it is more like the size of my hand if it were open (with all fingers) or larger, I’m definitely going to start to worry.
Bruising that instantly turns black is also not a good sign. Bumps that immediately show a raised “nugget” like a head bump means I will pull the athlete from the course.
It is best to remind all athletes of the rules around safety in advance, so they know IN ADVANCE what accidents will pull them off the course. “Please avoid head injuries” is not enough information…
If your athlete gets injured, ask the person to tell you about the fall and the type of impact. Was it jagged or smooth, was it a deeper punch or just a pancake splat? Weight falls at 2 ½ times its weight, so a 200-pound male is falling at 500 pounds of force and 500 pounds of force on a spleen is never a good plan.
If you are sending them back, have a medic check them in route and make a back-up plan if the pain gets worse. If they puke after a pancake splat, they need to go right to medical, because this is now a trauma sign.
Best option, pay attention to rocks, tell your team to pay attention to rocks, and NEVER, NEVER trust rocks to stay in place. Nothing outsmarts gravity.