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Volvo Ocean Race Kiwi bowman slashes wrist during mast cut away

by Volvo Ocean Race on 11 Apr 2012
Brad Marsh on the foredeck of Groupama after she suspended racing from leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil, after the mast broke just above the first spreader around 60 nautical miles south of Punta del Este. Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team © /Volvo Ocean Race http://www.cammas-groupama.com/

Groupama bowman Brad Marsh needed five staples in his wrist, as well as treatment for shock, after accidentally plunging a knife in his wrist in the immediate aftermath of the team's dismasting on Leg 5.

Marsh revealed the extent of his injury for the first time in a video from the boat, released after the team -- with a recovered Marsh on board -- resumed racing under jury rig on their way to the finish line in Itajaí.

'I had to climb up what was remaining of the mast and cut away the mainsail,' the New Zealander Marsh explained. 'In the process of cutting away the mainsail i managed to cut my wrist.

'As I had my arms around the mast, the knife had gone into the wrist and i had to pull the knife back out. I knew it was quite deep into the wrist and you could see it was long. I was very, very nervous and when I returned to the deck apparently I was as white as a ghost.'

Martin Krite and Martin Stromberg, two of Groupama's on board medics, took him below deck to treat him.

'When Brad came down the rig we realised something was wrong,' said Krite. 'There was quite a bit of blood coming down from the rig and we could see from Brad's eyes that he was in shock.

'After talking to our team doctor we decided to staple him together. We rook out the staple gun and put five staples in him and now he's as good as new, I think.'

On his arrival in Itajai, Brazil, Marsh said he turned down the chance to leave the boat during the French crew’s pit stop in Punta del Este to avoid letting down his crew mates.

Marsh said it was his own decision to stay on board.

'I'm responsible for the boat’s rigging and I didn't want to leave the guys to have to deal with that on their own,' he said. 'Now I'm really pleased to have completed the leg.'

Marsh said he had known immediately that his injury was a bad one when he accidentally jammed his knife deep into his wrist soon after the mast snapped while Groupama were leading with less than 1,000 nautical miles of the finish Leg 5.

'I was up the rig when I had the injury,' he said. 'I knew it was serious and when I got to the deck I think I was in shock.'

As the rest of the crew struggled to secure the broken spar and prevent any damage to the boat’s hull, boat medic Martin Krite tended to Marsh, first stemming the flow of blood before taking him below to close the wound using surgical staples.

'The guys looked after me very well but when they told me they were going to put staples in my wrist I think I went into shock for a second time,' Marsh said.

Krite said today he had been happy with the way the medical emergency had been dealt with, despite a false start with the first two staples.

'I had to take them out again,' Krite revealed. 'It was my first time with the staple gun. The rest went in fine and we patched him up almost as good as new.'

Marsh was greeted on the arrival pontoon today by his girlfriend Robin Hilton, dressed in a Groupama branded nurse’s uniform complete with stethoscope.
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