Helmets Save Lives…Remember to wear yours. Luck is a miracle!

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Posted Thu, Nov 17, 2011

 

Devastating tragedy; Father blessed by miracles

EASY RIDER: Brain Sipes has always been a huge Harley Davidson fan. Photos by Chanel Sipes

LAFAYETTE, Colo.- Sept. 25, 2008 was just another day, the sun was shining brightly filling the gorgeous blue Colorado sky. Or so it seemed to be just another beautiful day to, Brian Sipes, 45, of Lafayette. Sipes could not believe the gorgeous weather that had been brought his way. It had been a rough week for Sipes, one of mourning and remembering the anniversary of his mother, Nancy Sipes, whom lie to rest Sept. 22, 2004. He felt there was nothing more perfect than to venture off for the afternoon, cruising the town on his 05’ FLHX Road King. Sipes had no inkling of the event that was about to occur and would ultimately forever change his life.

Sipes has always been an avid Harley Davidson fan. He has lived his entire life riding and exploring new avenues, and has looked death straight in the eye. By some miracle Sipes is here today, living father of five children ages 17-23.

Sipes and his wife at the time took off joy riding for the day with several close friends. The crowd was out enjoying the stunning weather, delicious food and refreshing drinks. They ventured from spot to spot enjoying the beauty of Colorado in their graces. The afternoon went spectacular, the party continued on into the evening as the crew headed on their way toward Longmont to hit one of their favorite spots. Moments before the group arrival at the restaurant and tavern in Longmont, their destination, Sipes noticed that his wife was driving behind a man who had joined them earlier in the afternoon, and was driving a bike with no tail lights. Sipes sped his way to the front, to notify his wife to fall back off the driver, for better safety. The two backed off the biker and Sipes took lead in front of his wife for safety precautions.

It was not before long the driver in front of Sipes did exactly as he had expected, and took a sharp right turn with hardly any notice. Sipes took the turn too quickly, as his back tire began to hit sand, gravity took over tossing Sipes nearly 50 feet down the street, knocking him completely unconscious. When ambulances arrived Sipes was pronounced “dead.” Paramedics immediately tried to resuscitate Sipes, in every way possible, through CPR, and the use of a diffibulator, paramedics brought a beat back to Sipes heart.

Luck in his presence…

Sipes was rushed to Longmont Hospital for urgent intensive care. Sipes’daughter, Chanel recalls the time spent with her father just the day before his accident.

“I remember just the most ironic thing ever, and that was recalling what my dad had asked me, just the day before his accident. He turned to me and asked, ‘what would you ever do if something ever happened to Me? He sounded serious like he meant what he said. I was shocked by the question, but I told him, I would lose it, that I would have no clue what to do with myself. Little did I know one of my biggest fears was just right around the corner.”

After three excruciating dreadful weeks, including long nights of praying and hoping a miracle would find its way to the Sipes family, the family finally received the miracle they had been wishing for with every last hope in the world. The Sipes family did everything possible with will to achieve survival and maintain strength in such a difficult and life altering situation.

Scars that Sipes acquired remind him each day what a lucky man he is, and to how it was a miracle he survived without a helmet. It reminds him every day to always wear a helmet, and appreciate life. You never know lifes surprises that are headed your way!

The day Brian Sipes awoke from his three-week-long coma in intensive care, hope was replenished in the hearts of the Sipes family; that at one point had no idea the path of survival that lie ahead of their father. A miracle occurred, and there he was, laying back in his hospital room, dazed, semi-conscience, yet life filled his face and body again.

The family reiterates the story like it was yesterday, and they remember every thought and lasting memory of the situation the father of the Sipes family was involved in. Brian was in a coma for three weeks at the Longmont hospital. Sipes was then transferred to the Boulder Community Hospital on October 15th. In Boulder Sipes began to learn to relive, including intense physical therapy, and having to relearn how to walk, write, and talk all over again. Sipes had been paralyzed on the entire left side of his body and the right cheek bone on his face was fractured including multiple injuries to his head. Doctors had no clue what fate would bring Sipes way, but knew with focused therapy Sipes would hopefully regain feeling in his entire body again one day and begin to recover from the tragic accident.

On Dec. 21st Sipes finally returned to the family home with regained ability to feel the left side of his body. The accident was something that many people changed Brian Sipes very much and the person he is today. The transition home was not only difficult on Brian in the fact that he was attempting to remind himself of everything like it was new; but the situation was extremely one of the most difficult situations they have ever faced as a family.

Sipes had been married for nearly 10 years before the accident, and not only did his wife stand by his side through recovery but exceptionally, his children. With time heartbreak and doubt become something extremely familiar and hard to bear in the Sipes household. The injuries Sipes suffered from, particularly in his brain, caused him to be temperamental, quickly upset or agitated, and all this became very difficult for the entire family to bear

“We felt we were putting in so much time and energy and it was just so hard and frustrating observing how upset and vulnerable my loving father was acting,” Chanel explained. “He was not only my father, but he was a close friend, not only did I look up to him but as did many people. He was an asset of admiration to the entire community.”

Sipes recalls back to events that he remembers prior to his critical motorcycle accident. All of the incidents that have occurred in Sipes life he says, “Make me the man I am today!” He remembers certain things now, after long intensive hours of physical therapy and brain exercises. Following the accident, Sipes brain, over many weeks went through several stages of “re-living” events that occurred in his past. Chanel said, “ My dad went through stages, one week he was re-living a prior accident when he had fell from a building, the next week he was going through the death of his mom all over again, four years later, like it just happened yesterday, and he had just been told. It was really difficult for us to all learn how to understand, but he had forgotten almost everything, and it was like the accident set the restart button on my dad.”

Sipes talks proudly of his past, the things he has come to remember following his accident, including his passions & experiences. He began his working career as a Colorado construction worker, working several large projects across the U.S. including some of Colorado’s most favorite structures such as The Pepsi Center, Coors Field, Colorado Mills, Park Meadows, & The Flatirons Mall. Sipes spent a great chunk of his life contributing to the construction of Colorado, and Iron working remains one of his most favorite past times.

Brian Sipes, photo taken by Chanel Sipes

Despite many accidents, Sipes always manages to bounce back.

His career ended with tragedy as Sipes was accidentally knocked 25 feet, off a beam by a greatly intoxicated crane operator. Sipes fell hard using his left arm as protection to his head. He recalls watching his life flash before his eyes.

“I remember seeing my children, my family,and knowing I had to protect my head,” he said. Sipes recovered from the accident. As the ambulance rushed the scene, dirt flying through the air they came upon the area of the location where Sipes had fallen. After moments of laying on the ground, before the paramedics arrived, Sipes arose quickly and began walking off holding his arm as he struggled to walk. The ambulance arrived and stopped a man in attempt to get directions to the scene of the accident, to quickly discover the man they were speaking to was Brian Sipes himself.

“The x-ray tells the story of the painful and serious injuries I suffered as a result of this incident. Notice I did not say accident. I have since come to understand the difference between an accident and an incident. This was not an accident.”

 

Cherise Scrivner

About Cherise Scrivner

Cherise Scrivner is a Denver-area freelance writer. She is also the Managing Editor of CMAN (Colorado Martial Arts News)

View all posts by Cherise Scrivner

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