When you serve as mayor of a Dade County municipality and are a professor for an international university, figuratively speaking you should be wearing a helmet as you embark upon your challenging day to day obligations. In the case of Mayor Phillip Stoddard, it was literally the bike helmet he was wearing on his head that saved his life.
Mayor Stoddard recently took a tumble while bike riding just outside the city limits. Trying to avoid a noxious, eye level thorn bush that was threatening to give him a crude shave, he circumvented the razor sharp plant and rode onto grass. When he attempted to get back onto the sidewalk, he discovered that it was three inches above the level of the grass. The bike came to an abrupt standstill, but Mayor Stoddard kept moving. After bouncing off the pavement with his head and hip, he was rushed to the South Miami Hospital Emergency Department to repair his broken femur.
“If I had not had my helmet on, I would have wound up in the trauma center or the morgue,” said Mayor Stoddard. “My helmet was completely crushed, destroyed. I am so glad I wore my helmet and I am glad to be alive. My bicycling friends have told me stories about goofy accidents like this – someone hits their head and all of a sudden they’re dead. Some people think helmets are just for kids and I have even seen kids not wearing them.”
After the fall, Stoddard said he was not dizzy or disoriented and seemed fine except that his right leg hurt too much to move it. After calling his wife and the police, Sargent Richmond James arrived and determined it was necessary to call the paramedics.
“Sargent James was incredibly helpful”, said Stoddard. “So many nice people came over to help. Everybody wanted to call 911 but I wanted to be sure the situation called for it and apparently it did, so I was whisked away. After talking with several orthopedic physicians, some of whom suggested hip replacement, I followed the advice of the doctor who suggested we try to fix it first. Now I am convalescing with a few titanium screws keeping me together.”
Stoddard says he is totally indebted to the consummate team of professionals at South Miami Hospital that took such good care of him. He is happy to be home now so he can try to get some rest.
Although Mayor Stoddard is on doctor’s orders to stay sedentary while his injury heals, he has crutches and a walker and plenty of willing chauffeurs to make sure he gets to city hall for critical meetings.
His greatest disappointment will be missing the funeral of his favorite uncle, Steven Kraft, who recently passed in Wheaton, Maryland. “It is ironic that I am unable to go,” Stoddard said. “I lost my father when I was very young and his brother and family really took care of my mother and me. It strikes me as a reminder of the inevitability of inconvenience. But I will certainly be right back on my bike as soon as my doctor says it is okay to ride.”
And after he buys himself a brand new helmet.