Teenager suffers serious internal injuries after falling off his snowmobile

Lying in the snow. Struggling to breathe. The pain in his shoulder and abdomen growing more unbearable by the minute. This wasn’t how 16-year-old Travis Reed thought his first big trail ride would go.

Born and raised in Winslow, Travis was always an active kid, playing sports at school and ice fishing with his family. But he was eager to experience an honest-to-goodness snowmobile trail ride. Last winter, Travis got his chance when he joined his friend, Chris and his family for a 50+ mile ride from Newport to Dover-Foxcroft. Travis had already purchased a good trail sled and he was excited to try out his new anti-fog helmet. 

The group headed north on ITS 85, traveling through woods and across farm fields. As they neared Dover-Foxcroft the trail turned back toward the main road and featured a series of sharp turns. Travis noticed the turns seemed a little icier than the rest of the trail. As he was navigating one of the turns, his sled was pulled toward the ditch. It struck a big log, then a stump and Travis fell off. When he hit the ground, the impact knocked the wind out of him and before he could catch his breath the pain started. Chris' parents called 9-1-1.

As luck would have it, an ambulance crew was already nearby and arrived on scene within minutes. The medics placed an IV to start administering medications and then took him to nearby Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft. Despite the medications, Travis’ pain wasn’t subsiding. He had ruptured his spleen and gastric artery, causing serious internal bleeding. He had already lost about a liter and a half of blood. Travis badly needed surgery to repair the damage to his organs and stop the bleeding. The Mayo team called LifeFlight to transport him to trauma specialists at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. 

Before they left the scene in the ambulance, Chris’ father, Mike, had called Travis’ mom, Lisa, to let her know what was happening. When she arrived at Mayo and saw her son, she remembers he was shivering and white as a sheet.  “The flight crew arrived not long after. I remember they put in another IV. The team was moving fast, but Flight Nurse Kathy Beller took the time to explain what was happening and what they were going to do.”

With tears in her eyes, Lisa stood outside and watched the helicopter take off with her son on board. Then she climbed in the car and Travis’ friend drove her to Northern Light EMMC. By the time Lisa made it to Bangor, Travis was already in surgery with Dr. Anthony Tannous.

Thanks to the care he received along the way, from the medics at the scene and emergency department team at Mayo, to the flight crew and trauma specialists at EMMC, Travis was able to go home after only four days in the hospital. He spent another week recovering before he returned to school and took a few months off from playing contact sports. Today, Travis feels good as new. His life has returned to normal and he’s back to playing football. It’s as if the accident never even happened.