A Cautionary Tale: ODA Biking Accident


After school is out next week, Blaine students will be planning how to make the most of the summer of 2019. One way would be to venture outdoors and go on a biking trip. But before you ride away to the nearest forest or lake, take a moment to listen to this cautionary tale.

Back in early spring, when the trails in Bunker Hills still had patches of ice, students in Outdoor Adventures strapped on their helmets and went biking in the crisp air. But for senior Isabella Arbogast, it could have been the last day of her life.

Rushing down a hill, her bike violently skidded, she hit the brakes, and flipped over the handlebars, landing right smack on her head.

ODA teacher Mr. Osmik arrived by her side and stayed there until the ambulance came. According to another ODA teacher, Mr. Riordan, Isabella was in pain and he tried to comfort and distract her, asking if she could maybe hear the Bluejays cawing in the woods. When the EMTs arrived, they put Isabella in a neck brace, loaded her onto a stretcher and rushed her away to the hospital.

Luckily, Isabella recovered, is able to walk, talk, smile, and is a fully functioning human. Strangely, after she fully regained consciousness, she had blurry memories of the accident itself, but vividly remembered listening for Bluejays.

But what if she didn’t have her helmet on?

Isabella says, “The doctors looking at me said that there was a good chance I would have died because of how fast I was going and how far I flew.” If not dead, at best she would be in a vegetative state.

This ordeal has left an impact on the ODA teachers and students, reminding them of the importance of wearing a helmet. Isabella herself says she was affected by the accident, and “I will always make sure my little sister has a helmet on, because now I truly see what dangerous things can happen while bike riding.”

It’s a reality check. We like to live in denial that crashes and accidents won’t happen to us until they do. So let’s be prepared.

I will confess that before hearing Isabella’s story, I rarely wore my helmet. I’d come up with excuses like “It messes up my hair,” or “It makes my forehead look HUGE,” and “If I would fall off, which is unlikely, I’d probably fall on my arms not my head.” Now, it’s different. I’m haunted by the possibility of having an accident that can irreversibly damage my brain. Now, every time going for a long ride on my bike, I make sure there is a trusty buckle under my chin.