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Published on August 22, 2015

“Sometimes you surprise yourself” – a road race rescue

“Sometimes you surprise yourself” – a road race rescue

Douglas G. Mann, MD

Douglas G. Mann, MD

August 16th started like any other race day for Douglas G. Mann, MD. As he made his way down the Shining Sea bike path, heading toward the starting line for the 2015 New Balance Falmouth Road Race, Dr. Mann, an otolaryngologist at Falmouth Hospital, noticed a crowd forming. As he approached, the once dark shape became clearer – a man lying on his back, purple in the face.

“It was obvious that the folks who gathered wanted to help, but the looks on their faces made it clear they were unsure of what to do,” he said. “There was one man in particular who was kneeling over the body, attempting to give CPR. That’s when I knew I had to step in.”

As Dr. Mann gathered information from the bystanders, he learned that the man had fallen over the handlebars of his bike, landing face first on the pathway. His helmet – which was on at the time of the accident – appeared damaged, pitched to the side from the force of the fall. It quickly became evident that the man was not breathing, and with that, Dr. Mann’s medical instincts kicked in.

“I immediately worked to clear his airway, as the chest compressions he was receiving would not work alone. With my mouth to his nose I gave him breath.”

Both Dr. Mann and the first passerby worked together as a team, simultaneously providing breath and chest compressions as others called for an ambulance.

Thankfully Dr. Mann’s instinct and the kindness of others paid off. With continued breath and chest compressions, the injured man was able to take a few minor breaths on his own. Soon EMTs arrived and took over.

Dr. Mann’s day didn’t end there. He went on to run the Falmouth Road Race faster than he ever has before, finishing the seven mile course in under an hour.

“I had some friends working in the medical tent, so after I crossed the finish I went over to say hello. At that point I was beginning to feel a little iffy myself,” said Dr. Mann. “Turns out I wound up developing hyperthermia.”

Dr. Mann, along with other race participants, was treated in the Cape Cod Healthcare-sponsored medical tent staffed with impressive army of volunteers. A total of 135 runners were treated that day, as well as some spectators, a true testament to the dedication of the medical team.

“It was nice to see helpers get helped, I am very grateful for the help I received,” said Dr. Mann. “I am also very happy to hear that the man from the bike path is doing well. It was very much a pay-it-forward kind of day.”