Easter Cullen cycling in the Tour of Qinghai Lake race in China.
Easter Cullen, a CMU student, continued competing in a race in China this past summer after a first day crash.


While abroad nursing student’s training put to the test

Two million spectators lined the street cheering on cyclists competing in the first day of the Tour of Qinghai Lake in Xining, China.  With about three kilometers to go in the first stage, a spectator walked out of the crowd and into the peloton causing a large portion of the cyclists to crash in a mangled heap.

One of those cyclists was Cullen Easter, a Colorado Mesa University nursing student and professional cyclist, competing with team Illuminate while on summer break this past July.

“Went to hit my brakes but was going so fast that they locked up,” said Easter. “Then it was just chaos.”

After assessing himself he noticed a group of Italian riders nearby standing over one of their fellow teammates.  The teammate, later identified as Dall’Antonia Tiziano, had no helmet on and was lying in a pool of blood.  Easter’s nursing instincts kicked in and he headed over to the group to offer assistance. He found a huge gash on the downed riders head and could see straight to his skull. Easter grabbed a jacket from a nearby race worker and applied pressure to the wound while trying to calm down and convey to the Italians and Tiziano, who did not speak English, that he had nursing training and that help was on the way. Help did arrive shortly thereafter and Tiziano was airlifted to a hospital.

“Sometimes you haven’t used your training in a while,” Easter said. “And you wonder if you’ll remember everything correctly.”

Luckily for the Italian, Easter had no hesitation as his training kicked in immediately. Easter credits the rigorous and comprehensive CMU nursing program and the intelligent and knowledgeable instructors for his decisive actions. One of those professors in the CMU nursing program, Sue Goebel, was not surprised by Easter’s actions while racing in China.

“Cullen is passionate about and compassionate in his nursing,” Goebel said. “He recognizes the discipline is both a science and an art.”

Easter even inquired about Tiziano’s recovery after the race. Fortunately, the Italian cyclist was back in Italy and doing just fine due in part to Easter’s swift actions and training from Colorado Mesa University.

“I feel like ours (CMU nursing program) is one of the best in the nation,” said Easter.

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