Area doctor injured in dirt bike wreck in Sandwash Basin

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An area doctor was injured in motor bike accident Sunday afternoon while riding in the Sandwash Basin, and was airlifted directly from the western part of the county to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction.

Dr. Michael Sisk, 36, suffered a back injury after crashing during a jump Sunday. Sisk was riding a 2003 Yamaha YZ 426 dirt bike with friends in the Sandwash Basin on Bureau of Land Management Road 2097, which is off of Moffat County Road 67.

Sisk is an orthopedic surgeon from Steamboat Springs.

The Maybell volunteer ambulance, Maybell Fire/Rescue, Moffat County Sheriff's Office, Colorado State Patrol and a Flight For Life helicopter responded to the scene.

According to Corey Larsen, one of the friends riding with Sisk, Sisk "basically endo-ed the bike in mid-air" and the bike struck his back upon landing.

"There's a jump (on the top of a hill) we always hit, and we had just gotten to it," Larsen said. "I hit the jump and turned around to hit it again. I looked over my shoulder (as Sisk jumped) and he let off the throttle as he left the top when you do that, you'll throw the nose down and he started coming down with the bike almost straight up and down. He pitched the bike out from between his legs, he landed basically on his face, and the bike went rear wheel over front and hit him in the back."

Sisk has been riding dirt bikes for a couple of years, Larsen said. According to Moffat County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jeremy Ashton, Sisk initially lost all feeling in his lower body and diagnosed himself as possibly bleeding internally, and had a fellow rider call emergency services from a cell phone. The sheriff's 0ffice received the report at 1:15 p.m. Sunday.

Once emergency crews arrived at approximately 2:20 p.m., Sisk had to be carried down from the top of the hill to the ambulance. He was driven about an eighth of a mile to a spot where the Flight For Life helicopter could land, Maybell Volunteer Ambulance Emergency Medical Technician Tanya Stoffle said.

"With the help of his friends, we packed him out on a backboard down from the top of the hill to the ambulance and then drove to a spot where Flight For Life could pick him up," Stoffle said. "The helicopter was already on its way as we left because they had called them with their phone, but it couldn't land right where (Sisk) was because of high winds, and there was only a foot of extra room to each side on the hill."

Larsen said he believed that Sisk had suffered two broken vertebrae and compressed disks from the crash. According to The Memorial Hospital spokesperson Pam Thompson, Sisk has regained feeling in his extremities and is scheduled to be released from St. Mary's Hospital today or tomorrow in a back brace.

Sisk works in private practice at Orthopedics of Steamboat Springs. He also works at The Memorial Hospital in Craig twice a week, Thompson said.

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