WILMINGTON — The survivor of a motorcycle accident was recognized for practicing safety measures that saved his life.
At the Ohio State Highway Patrol Wilmington Post on Wednesday, Austin Caldwell of Fayetteville was presented with the “Saved by the Helmet” award by Motorcycle Ohio. The award is given to survivors of serious crashes who were wearing a helmet.
On June 6, 2018, Caldwell was on his way to work as an EMT/firefighter when he was hit by a driver who turned in front of him on U.S. 50 in Jackson Township. Caldwell was thrown from his motorcycle into the opposite lane of traffic, and he was hospitalized with serious injuries.
An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper told his family that the only thing that saved his life was his helmet.
Caldwell recalled that his injuries included “multiple brain bleeds,” biting off part of his tongue, and “ripping the whole left side” of his face. After his stay at the University of Cincinnati Hospital, he went through rehabilitation.
“I had to relearn everything, from how to use a fork to writing my name,” he said. “It took me nine months of healing to get back to my job.”
He considers himself fortunate, and he’s thankful for the help he received including from Trooper Rick Gable of the Wilmington Post, who responded to the scene.
Caldwell continues to advocate for motorcycle riders to wear helmets.
“I’m a career fireman … so, we see a lot of motorcycle accidents,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys who shouldn’t have been OK, be OK because they were wearing a helmet. And I saw a lot of guys who should be OK but were not wearing a helmet.”
He added, “I have a beautiful fiancee now, a house, and a career — and all of that was almost gone in a blink of an eye.”