Champion rower struck down by bus lives to tell

Andrew Todd is in such great shape, he went up against a bus and won.

“While I was in the ambulance going to the hospital, I remember thinking to myself, ‘well if I can handle getting dragged and squashed by a bus, a 2K should be pretty easy,’” said Todd, in his hospital bed at the Ottawa Hospital.

A 2K is a standardized ergometer test used in rowing to measure fitness.

The University of Ottawa science student celebrated his 24th birthday in the trauma unit last week.

Originally from Thunder Bay, Todd was in London trying out for the national rowing team.

During a cycling drill, his third workout of the day on May 10, Todd was hit and dragged by an empty school bus in a rural area.

“I’m very thankful that I don’t have a head injury, you know, no spinal injuries, all that kind of stuff,” said Todd.

“I was wearing my helmet but luckily, there was not a scratch on it.”

His right leg and pelvis, though, are pretty banged up.

Doctors told him one-third of his knee is missing.

Then there’s the arterial bleeding in his stomach, and road rash.

Having already undergone four surgeries, “he’s very lucky to be alive,” said his mother, Angie Palo, tearing up.

Her and husband Bill have been by Todd’s side since the accident.

The trauma resident in London informed them there was a 50% chance Todd would be dead when he arrived in hospital “just based on what he had been told while I was in transit in the ambulance,” said Todd.

Regardless, “my ultimate dream is still to row for Canada, you know, row for my country,” he said.

Todd, a member of the Ottawa Rowing Club, began rowing in 2007.

With the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics in sight, Todd is hoping for a full recovery but acknowledges he may have to take up adaptive rowing.

Todd must find an assisted living facility while he rehabilitates his body and he’ll have to travel to Toronto for extensive surgery.

“It’s been incredible how positive he’s been about everything,” said Todd’s girlfriend, Jenna Pelham.

The pair met while rowing and have been dating for three years.

“He gets bad news, and then it’s ‘it could’ve been worse’ … He doesn’t let his goals fade, which is nice to see.”


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