By Karl Higgins
July 12, 2002 – Cory Coulston is a soon-to-be 50 year-old Colorado IRONMAN. He is a veteran competitor, recently finishing IRONMAN California and Lake Placid. He was in training for IRONMAN Canada. Now, he’s in the race of his life in the intensive care ward of Denver Health Hospital with severe head trauma.
Cory breathes through a tube. He is fed by a tube. His face is battered, discolored and swollen. He has yet to wake up. His wife, Darla, an active marathoner, is by his side as are many friends and family members.
On June 29th, Cory and several training partners strapped on their helmets, filled their water bottles, and set out from their Denver area homes to bike the “Copper Triangle”. A well-known 83 mile local ride originating at Copper Mountain ski resort, passing through Leadville and Vail, finishing at Copper Mountain.
At Minturn Pass, Cory was in the lead. He was nearly through a long descent on the winding mountain highway when a car full of tourists made an allegedly illegal U-Turn immediately in front of him.
Cory collided with the car at a high rate of speed. The other bicyclists were seconds behind him, but did not witness the accident. Rounding the corner, they discovered Cory lying in an expanding pool of blood, unconscious, in the middle of the highway. The occupants of the car were distraught, some in tears. After the life-flight helicopter airlifted Cory to the trauma center, the highway patrol gave the driver of the car a citation for the U turn.
There will be months and months of rehab for Cory. Doctors and therapists recommend plenty of support from family and friends as part of his road back to health, and, eventually, competition.
You can help Cory recover. Send him an encouraging email or letter. Include a finisher’s medal if you like. We’ll hang it next to his hospital bed as inspiration. Darla, and her family and friends, will read your notes to him daily to encourage him as he rehabilitates his body and mind.
The triathlon community has a fallen brother. His wife has an injured mate with a long road to recovery. It’s our turn to help.