Six-time All-American Kassi Andersen will not compete this year do to an accident she suffered Saturday September 4th in American Fork Canyon. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
The women's cross country team suffered a big blow Saturday afternoon when word got back to women's coach Patrick Shane that his No. 1 runner had suffered an accident.
Kassi Andersen and her older brother Jake had been riding their bikes through American Fork Canyon Saturday. Andersen has been training extensively on the bike, doing cross training workouts that have her riding 50 to 90 miles every day, do in part to a sever angle sprain she suffered in the steeplechase at the Olympic Trials in July.
As the two of them rode back down the canyon road, they approached a blind left-hand turn. A truck pulling a trailer was heading up the canyon rode and approached the hair pin turn at the same time. Andersen's brother missed the trailer and it looked as if she might not make it.
Traveling at a speed of around 15 mph, Andersen laid the bike down on the payment causing her pedal to catch and flipping her over the bike. As she landed on the gravel road below, the trailer ran over her arm and hip.
"My heart sunk when I heard what happened to Kassi," Shane said. "You're never ready for news like that."
Andersen was taken to a nearby hospital where she underwent X-rays, which determined she had a fractured left elbow and a broken left hip.
"I got there just as she arrived," Shane said. "She was in pain and it was pretty obvious. In a way it was a blessing that nothing tragic happened to her. She could have been killed or paralyzed."
A junior from Provo High School, Andersen has been sensational at BYU. A six-time All-American in both track and cross country, she looked to help guide the women's cross country team back to the top.
The Cougars have been favored as the team to beat each year do in part to runners like Andersen, but now Coach Shane and his team have to win without their No. 1 runner.
"This will challenge her, but she can handle it," said Shane.
Due to the injuries she suffered, Andersen will be out six to eight months.
"You can't replace your No. 1 runner," Shane said. "All you can do is prepare and hope for the best and ask the team to step it up. It's going to change our outlook drastically, but we'll rise to the occasion and we'll be fine."