As much as I want to promote the fun and satisfaction of competing in a triathlon, one still must be aware of the possible dangers. Within my own Y-Tri team, we had at least three injuries that I know of that occurred on race day.
The most heart breaking for me would be Arthur's story. Arthur was a newbie, like myself and his positive energy and great motivation has already been mentioned in this blog. He was always the first to show up early with a smile on his face and something nice to say. He worked harder then any other team member. On the morning of the race, he was placed in the wave immediately before myself. When he jumped in the water to get in place for the start, his foot hit the bottom of the river and was sliced open on what we assume was a broken bottle or other similar form of pollution (*plug to keep your rivers and streams clean people!). He was taken to the medic tent and ended up having to receive 8 stitches. After six months of training Arthur didn't even make it past the starting horn. It was torture to watch and not the most motivational thing for me to witness seconds before jumping in the water myself.
The next accident I witnesses was that of one of my running coaches. About 4 miles into the bike I turned the corner to see her on the side of the road being attended to by the ambulance. Turns out someone had cut in front of her and when she had to slam on her breaks ended up flipping over her handle bars and breaking her collar bone. This is an example of not depending on your experience to keep you safe. She is a marathon and triathlon vet. You never know what outside variable is going to affect your race, so keep vigilant.
The third and final was the most nerve racking for me simply because it was my best friend. Before the race we figured out our estimate timing. He used to compete in swimming so we knew he'd kick my butt there, but he also was super new to biking and we figured I'd at least catch up if not pass him during that. Then for the run we assumed we'd be together if not extremely close. So about 6 miles into the bike I was actively looking out for him. Then there he was, on the side of the road, standing over his fallen bike looking extremely shook up... though in one piece. I yelled to him if he was OK or if I needed to stop and he waved me on saying he was fine. What happened was someone yelled to him that they were passing on the left and he looked over his shoulder to make sure he was out of their way. When he turned back facing forward, someone had come to a complete stop directly in front of him, forcing him to slam on his breaks and flip off his bike. Luckily for him he just ended up scuffing up his elbow and hip and was able to jump back on the course and continue with minimal delay.
Be safe and be aware...