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Fargo man's miraculous road to recovery after a horrific bike accident

Ralph Holte suffered severe injuries after a bike accident last year. He is riding again after a year of surgeries and physical therapy.

Ralph Holte
Ralph Holte gets back on the bike one year after suffering serious injuries in a biking accident.
Sam Goetzinger
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FARGO — In the warm summer months, going on a bike ride is one of the most relaxing things to do. But like anything else in life, even a simple bike ride can throw you curve balls.

"I went for a bike ride on August 21st and came home on October 21st," said Ralph Holte.

Holte is your typical retiree, living life in his home in Fargo.

"I just got done mowing the grass and went for a nice bicycle ride," he said.

Unfortunately for Holte, that ride will be one he will never forget.

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"Tire slipped off and I tried to correct, and next thing I remember, I was on my back and had the wind knocked out of me," said Holte. "I just about broke everything in my body on the right side, and even cracked my helmet."

Nine fractured ribs, a fractured femur and pelvis and a collapsed lung were just a fraction of the injuries he faced that day. It would be an uphill battle for Ralph with countless surgeries and hours of physical therapy at the Sanford Orthopedic Center.

"I felt so helpless, you know a 67-year-old man is now dependent on someone else to take care of them," he said.

For months, Ralph and the doctors at Sanford took it day by day, and eventually progress was made.

"After the October visit with the doctor, he said 'We'll have you out in 17 days', and I said 'You won't have me out of here in 17 days.' We'll teach you how to use the parallel bars, we'll teach you how to use a walker, we'll teach you how to use a cane, and they did," Holte said.

Four months after that ride, he was back home. Fast forward to today, he is back on his bike for the first time since the accident. Even with the extensive list of injuries and hours of surgery and rehab, both Holte and doctors agree, it could have been way worse if it were not for a helmet.

"I consider myself very lucky. I could have had a head injury and been in the nursing home the rest of my life on a ventilator," Holte said.

Ralph says he's back to 99.8% health, something he and doctors can't believe would come so fast.

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"I'm floored he got back on the bike. I did not expect it to be this soon, but I'm glad to hear he's back to what he enjoys. That's really our job to get people back to what they enjoy," said Dr. Chantasi.

Holte hopes other people, especially kids, wear their helmet when they go out for a ride so something worse than his story doesn't happen to them.

Related Topics: ACCIDENTS
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