Apr 15, 2001
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Racer Jerry Wood lost his run for AMA Trustee in the fall, but here is Wood's take on what needs to be done to improve the AMA.<BR><BR>"I don't think I have all the answers," said Wood in a written statement he sent to Roadracing World. " I would (have been) available to listen to other members' concerns and suggestions. Communication has improved so much with the internet and it is a very useful tool to exchange ideas and information.<BR><BR>"I believe that the racing program needs attention but I am also an active street and trail rider. I understand the importance of fighting for our rights and freedoms. Responsibility comes along with those freedoms, we need to teach our young riders to respect the rights of others. That person on the horse might own the land.<BR><BR>"The concerns that I have heard so much about are the expensive lawsuit with Roger Edmondson, rider safety, and the lack of opportunity for riders to comment on a rule change before it is enacted. Members want to see the racing program grow. Riders like Doug Chandler and Nicky Hayden are American heroes just like Dan Moreno, Tiger Woods and Bill Elliott. We need the sponsors to put their faces on television to get our sport in the mainstream.<BR><BR>"We need to conduct our business honestly with integrity and fairness. Lawsuits should only be a last resort.<BR><BR>"Rider input before enacting new rules is a must.<BR><BR>"Safety has to be a main concern. The safest races are the result of a strong program, it's easier to buy the right equipment when you have the money. We learned at Loudon that you can bolt Indy car slicks together and make soft walls that absorb energy with little damage to machine or rider. The bonus is that they are free! The dirt tracks could probably use these as well. The new Air Fence ‘Bike' product is not free but it works great in high-impact areas and is worth every penny of the cost.<BR><BR>"Helmet removal is another life-or-death issue that must be addressed. Years ago if a rider crashed and was not able to remove his own helmet the ambulance people were instructed to leave the helmet on the person for fear that they would make a neck injury worse. The trouble is that if the rider couldn't breathe, he died.<BR><BR>"Joe Zeigler, who was my partner with the Penguin School at the time, thought that we could do better than let the rider die. Joe worked with the (Loudon) track nurse, Karen Hornbecker, along with the track doctor and an orthopedic surgeon to develop a method of removing helmets while stabilizing the neck. This became standard practice at Loudon. The method has been refined and is now a regular part of advanced EMT training.<BR><BR>"I was at the crash site when my son Eric was run over by another motorcycle. Eric was not able to breathe until the helmet was removed and an airway placed (in his throat). I have been present on two other occasions where the rider's helmet was removed and an airway inserted with these methods, and everyone lived.<BR><BR>"A short time ago I was present when the local fire department demonstrated all of the latest life-saving equipment and the training that went with it. It was impressive, they could cut you out of a car, get you out of a burning building and had all kinds of live-saving medical stuff. When I asked if they were trained on motorcycle helmet removal they said NO and the EMTs that came after them could not remove helmets, either.<BR><BR>"I was shocked to learn that this training is not required for emergency personnel at AMA races. The training for helmet removal is part of the Pre-hospital Trauma Life Support manual written by the National Association of EMTs."<BR><BR>If Wood had been elected, he would have pushed "hard to make sure that all AMA races have emergency personnel that are trained in helmet removal…(and) push for the AMA to sponsor nationwide police and fire department training as well. I want to see cost-effective barrier protection used as well as the Air Fence where it is needed. I… encourage rider input on rules and changes and…(representation of) all riders including privateers.<BR><BR>"I have been told by many people that they want to see changes in the AMA. I am a longtime AMA supporter and I think that the people that have been working on these boards have tried to do a good job, but we need new ideas. No one person makes the decisions, all I…(was) asking for is to have a voice at the table."<BR>