Pat Flautt Accident Recovery Fund
Pat texted his wife Kerstin a picture of himself in front of the Chattahoochee National Forest at 6 on Tuesday night:
"one more long down hill ride until I come home ".
At the time, he didn’t know just how long that trip would take.
Not long after he sent that text, Pat was on the side of the road, lying on his back with his legs on the railing. He couldn’t move. We don’t know how long he was there until he was found by another cyclist who found him and called 911. Paramedics arrived by ambulance shortly. They found him with his helmet smashed, in shock. They called life flight to pick him up by helicopter.
The life flight took Pat to Northeast Medical Centre in nearby Gainesville. Kerstin and Pat’s oldest son Elliot met him there. Overnight, he had MRIs and sensation tests. The next morning, the doctor came in to tell us what he had learned.
“I hate to meet you all this way,” he said. “Your dad can’t move his legs or hands. He can’t feel anything from right below his shoulders down. If things get worse, he won’t be able to breathe on his own.”
The rest was a blur—the words that stick out are “learning to live with his new deficits” and “your dad’s life just changed completely.”
Why him? How could this happen to a man who lived for getting up every day and taking his bike out on long rides? The doctors at Northeast Medical Center didn’t have much confidence that a surgery would help, but we weren’t going to give up.
Get Him to Grady
Pat knows what it is like to fight to get it all back again. In 1992, he had Guillain-Barré syndrome. He couldn’t breathe on his own and was paralyzed from the neck down. He was living in Brooklyn at the time and was flown to be treated at Emory. Over time, he regained all of sensation and motor function. After months of recovery, he was back up on his bike. He’s been cured for 24 years.
His family has decided this time won’t be any different. We spent all of that first day working on getting him transferred to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta – the best trauma center in the state and the best for neurological and spinal care. We were able to connect with people who helped find a bed for him and after what felt like days of waiting, he was on his way.
At Grady, the doctors performed a laminectomy and did a spinal fusion from his C3 to T2 vertebrae. They were hopeful to be able to remove his breathing tubes the next day and that he’d be able to move his hands again soon.
That’s where we are now. Pat is in the ICU recovering from surgery. We know he is surrounded by the best medical team possible and is surrounded by an incredible community. Our friends and family have already done so much to support us in ways we never could have imagined. You have stepped up in immense ways – from the bystander who found him on the side of the road, to our friends who brought us food and held us when we needed to cry and those of you who have spread Pat’s story to your communities to help him get the best medical care possible.
Get Him Back on the Bike
Pat is covered by insurance, but so much of what this will cost him is still a huge unknown.The National Spinal Cord Injury and Statistical Center estimates the first year of care at $769,351 (source: UAB Medical ). Aside from the direct medical costs, there will be the indirect costs of home modifications, rehabilitation and loss of productivity. We are hoping to raise $100,000 to help defer some of the costs.
Pat is going to fight through this, and we’re going to be here to help him every step of the way. Even the smallest donation can help us #gethimbackonthebike.
We can't tell you all how much we appreciate your support over these past months and we look forward to seeing you all down the road in the future.
“Hustle, Hit, Never Quit”.
Pat is feeling right at home because there’s not an ounce of “quit” in him.
We took a long deep, breath this past weekend when Pat was transferred to the Shepherd Center for his rehab program. We’re getting somewhere. His long road to recovery started on Tuesday with full days of physical, occupational, and speech therapy sessions.
Here’s what we know about his recovery program so far. Pat will be at the Shepherd Center Spinal Cord Injury recovery center for 8 to 10 weeks. He’s been making incredible strides in recovery so far and he is itching to make as much progress as possible during his time here at Shepherd. He’s still on the ventilator and we’re hoping to make progress towards weaning him off the ventilator over the next two weeks. Pat has been able to talk (under very close speech pathologist supervision) and we cannot tell you how great it is to hear his voice again.
Each and every time a new, familiar face walks through the door, Pat’s eyes completely light up. Friends and family from near and far have been showing up at Shepherd to visit and these visits really raise his spirits.
His journey thus far has been incredibly emotional and we cannot thank everyone enough for coming out in support of Pat.
On his second day at Shepherd, Pat was finally awake and present enough to start being able to communicate (he still can’t speak because of his tracheotomy, but we can read his lips). Elliot was with him and the first thing he asked for was, of course, a cup of coffee! He hasn’t stopped asking for coffee since. So the good news is that Pat hasn’t changed a bit!
Right now, the doctors at Shepherd are focusing a lot on moving him to increase blood circulation and helping him gain strength in his arms (which is the only thing he can move so far). They are hopeful for more recovery, but have told us that he has a long climb ahead of him.
Luckily, we have been able to be by his side every minute so that he won’t have to go through any step of this alone.
Thank you again to everyone who has been supporting our family. Your love and support for us has been astounding.
We're so excited to share this great news. Pat is heading to the Shepherd Center tomorrow. Shepherd is one of the best spinal rehabilitation centers in the country. We got a chance to do a tour on Friday and the Shepherd Center is truly amazing. The doctors and staff there gave us more hope for a complete recovery given Pat's current condition.
Thank you to all of you who have been calling, emailing, and letting the people at Shepherd know how important Pat is to all of us. Shepherd Center beds are few and far between and he wouldn't have been able to get in without all of your support. Thank you! We've heard that the Shepherd Center has been receiving multiple daily calls on his behalf. The Shepherd admissions center really understand that Pat is a VIP.
We are so excited to be heading to Shepherd tomorrow, where Pat will receive the best possible care and start a difficult road to recovery. We also cannot thank the incredible doctors, nurses, and staff at Grady enough. The Grady/Emory surgical team gave us confidence in our dad's chances for recovery, the nurses and respiratory technicians took care of our dad around the clock and have made sure he was comfortable, and the sweet ladies in the ICU reception always looked out for his visitors and made sure we were happy and healthy.
Above all, thank you.
So very glad Pat is moving to Shepherd's Center. My close friend and professional cyclist (was on French team training for Giro D'Italia) spend much time there and recovered from serious brain injury (was in coma for over a month) ready for pro-cycling less than one year after the accident. Amazing doctors and staff. Praying for full recovery! Please keep us updated...Thank you
Hello Pat from the Netherlands. I heard about your cycling incident from Clarice Bricteux, who I was cycling with this past weekend in Barcelona. We are both cheering you on as you rebuild yourself. Hope we can get to cycle again somewhere. One of my latest rides was about 10,000km long. You can see it on www.crosscountrycyclist.com. Hope to visit you when I am in the US visiting. Best to you and your family. David Hawley & Leisa Weld.
Pat, our hearts and love go out to you with prayers for a full recovery
Pat, we are pulling for you. God speed on a complete and timely recovery.