The long road to recoveryPublished 9:36am Thursday, September 13, 2012
Benefit planned for ‘The Dude’ as he recovers from motorcycle crash
David Langan, known to many by his lifelong nickname “The Dude,” faced a life-threatening motorcycle accident last month. This weekend, friends, families and fellow riders will take to the roads to raise money for the 28-year-old’s recovery.
“The Dude” Run and Benefit will take place Saturday, with registration from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Windrift Lounge in Austin and the bikes departing immediately after. Participants will take to their motorcycles and trace a route around the county, ending back in Austin for more activities. The funds will help cover Langan’s medical bills and support him while he can’t work.
The accident happened around 10 a.m. on Aug. 5.
“He had left my mom and dad’s house and was heading home,” said his sister, Melissa Rogers.
Riding his motorcycle on a back road between Hayfield and Owatonna, Langan collided with a deer while traveling 60 mph. According to Rogers, the helmet he was wearing saved his life.
But his injuries were serious. The accident led to six broken ribs, a punctured lung, head trauma and bleeding in his brain. Minutes after the accident, a woman driving down the same road found Langan and pulled over to help.
“Luckily, the lady who found him is a surgical nurse at the Owatonna hospital,” Rogers said.
The nurse quickly called to have Langan flown by Mayo One to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. He spent five days in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit, undergoing surgery on his left hand and collar bone, plus a 14-hour surgery to replace his right shoulder blade.
“They had to rebuild his clavicles, his shoulders, his arm,” Rogers said. “He was basically shattered from the waste up.”
Langan still has two surgeries to go, followed by at least six to eight months of physical therapy. He’s out of the hospital and able to move around, but has to wear a device to restrict shoulder movement. He can use his left hand a little, but can’t bend the wrist at all or write anything, Rogers said.
The idea for the benefit came in light of his short-term disability benefits running out next week at Viracon, where he’s employed. Langan is unmarried and lives alone, and soon won’t have any income. With the funds raised, he will have time to recover and get back on his feet. Rogers said it’s unlikely he will be able to return to work because his job required a degree of lifting and strength that he can’t manage.
The whole family is getting involved in his benefit, she said, from his parents, Brad and Cheryl, to his other two sisters, Kellie and Sarah. His father has a Harley Davidson and made motorcycles a fixture in Langan’s life.
“He grew up riding,” Rogers said. She added that his nickname, “The Dude,” stuck with him from when he was young, though it’s even more fitting because his favorite movie is “The Big Lebowski,” where the main character, played by Jeff Bridges, goes by the same nickname.
The route will start at the Windrift in Austin, then head to Geneva and over to Blooming Prairie. After that, the group will go to Hayfield, Waltham and Brownsdale, then head back to Austin. Bikes should be back at the Windrift between 4 and 5 p.m.
A number of other activities will follow the ride, including a 6 p.m. live auction, where numerous gift certificates from local businesses and other goods will be sold. A karaoke contest will run from 7 p.m. to midnight, and games of horseshoes and bean bags will happen earlier.
Organizers will hold a 50-50 drawing, which visitors can buy tickets for. A winner will be chosen to take half the pot, while the rest will go to Langan’s benefit. Shirt and bracelet sales will also take place.
Coming to the event are a number of riders from the Twin Cities connected with the Minnesota chapter of American Bikers for Awareness, Training and Education, which promotes safe riding, along with members of a motorcycle group from Iowa. Taking local participants into account, Rogers expects 100 to 150 people to attend.
“The community has just been outstanding with support,” she said, adding local businesses are donating all the food for the event.
There’s a $20 entry fee to join the ride, and participating in the auction, other contests or the drawing will be extra.
Langan himself will be taking part in the ride, but may not be along for the whole circuit: Any vibrations or impacts cause his upper body pain. That includes the feel of hugs, making many people’s efforts to comfort him paradoxically discomforting, Rogers said.
“The amount of time he stays in the vehicle will depend on the amount of pain he’s in,” she said. “To even do the ride in the vehicle is very torturous on him. But he’s so appreciative of what everybody’s done to help him out.”