In February of 2011, Lauren Archer was involved in a bicycle accident that changed her life. Archer was out for a weekend ride with the St. Pete Bike Club when she fell behind the main group of riders as they headed toward the Don CeSar hotel.
As Lauren approached the drawbridge on the westernmost span of the Pinellas Bayway, she didn’t notice the uneven patch of cement just before. She remembers checking her speedometer; it clocked her at 22 mph.
Suddenly, the narrow front tire of her bike hit the rough cement and the handlebars wrenched out of Archer’s hands. Lauren was thrown forward over the handlebars and landed on the pavement. Her arm was crushed and she sustained a compound fracture.
Archer is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who moved to Tampa from Ohio to operate at All Children’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa and at Largo Medical Center. Until her accident, Archer performed major surgeries, including breast and facial reconstructions and pediatric plastic surgery. Nearly three quarters of her practice was reconstructive surgery, which is often lengthy and arduous.
Three years after her bicycle crash, her arm has not fully recovered and she limits her surgeries to light, office based procedures.
After her initial recovery from the trauma, Archer was relieved and thankful to be alive and have her arm. She now works in plastics part-time, still cycling about 100 miles a week on a different bike.
She knows, though, that her limited role can’t last forever, though, and is working to adapt to what she defines as a “new normal”. Her story remains unfinished and she is considering a new career.
Archer is thankful for what she does have and feels tremendous compassion for those who suffer severe traumatic brain injuries or lose their lives in bicycle accidents.