Thanks again for all the support. I can't concentrate enough to really respond to everything on the group rbr, but it's nice to see everyone come together over something like this. Adam."
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VELONEWS REPORT: 2-Aug-2000
By Bryan Jew, VeloNews Senior Writer
Massachusetts racer Adam Hodges Myerson was resting comfortably in his Northampton home on Wednesday after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured skull on Monday. Myerson was struck in the head by Scott Mercer following the Naugatuck Criterium in Connecticut on Sunday.
According to Myerson, Mercer had become irritated during the criterium over Myerson's Breakaway Courier team's tactics. Mercer, who had dropped out midway through the race, approached Myerson following the race, and the two began what Myerson described as "a civil, intellectual discussion."
But then, unexpectedly, Mercer struck Myerson in the head with his fist. "When it happened, I didn't see him wind up, I didn't see it coming," said Myerson. "I didn't protect myself."
The struck rider was stunned, but the pair continued their conversation, and Mercer eventually rode off. Myerson didn't realize the severity of the blow for several minutes, until he went to collect his prize money. "At that point, I was nonsensical. I couldn't even put a few words together," he said. "I had a hole in my head. It was concave, and I realized it was completely misshapen."
Myerson was taken to the hospital, and underwent surgery on Monday. "It was a lot worse than they had originally thought," said Myerson. "The neurosurgeon said the surgery should only take an hour. When they got in there, the surgery took four hours."
It was discovered that the brain lining had been torn, and the brain itself had been bruised. "I felt like I had been hit by a truck when I woke up."
By Tuesday, Myerson was able to check out of the hospital, and he reported that he was feeling better, although he could only concentrate for short periods of time and tired easily. "Every step of the way is an improvement," he said. Myerson said he would take things slowly, although he could be back on the bike as soon as two weeks from now. "The first thing you do when you're a bike racer is think about getting back on a bike. But I'm not even thinking about it now. I'm gonna be as cautious as I can, and not be my usual gung-ho self."
The issue has been turned over to the USCF's North Atlantic Regional Coordinator Tom Vinson, who said he was waiting to speak to both Myerson and Mercer before making a decision on a possible suspension.
Mercer could also face criminal charges, as the Naugatuck police department was investigating the case.
Myerson said he received a phone call from Mercer on Wednesday morning. "He sounded remorseful to me . It sounds like he's going to attempt to take responsibility for what he did," said Myerson. "I think it really sank in when he heard what he had done to me."
Mercer could not be reached for comment, but his G.S. Mengoni team expressed its regret over the incident. "I feel terrible about it, and so does Fred [Mengoni]," said team director John Issendorf.
A written statement released by Issendorf stated: "Mr Fred Mengoni expressed his shock and disapproval when he was informed of the altercation . Mr. Mengoni stated his view that incidents of this type have no place in our sport. Mr. Mengoni further stated he will take whatever disciplinary action he believes appropriate when he learns of any USCF action taken against the G.S. Mengoni rider."
Issendorf, who was not present at the race, said that he had spoken to Mercer briefly, "to tell him we were waiting to see what action the USCF was taking." Issendorf continued, "We certainly didn't condone in any way shape or form what he did . He admitted that he lost his cool."
Myerson, meanwhile, was cheered by the support he had gotten from friends and fellow racers. "I got 300 e-mails this morning, and that's great," he said from his Northampton home. "It makes me realize what a close-knit community we have."
VeloNews - "this just in"
UPDATE: The Naugatuck police dept. booked Mercer, Aug. 9, 2000. Thus they formally arrested him for the crime.
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