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Triathletes are perceived as being tough, strong, and able to overcome any obstacle in their way. But sometimes, we are reminded that these individuals can be just as fragile as the rest of us.

That’s why our thoughts and prayers are with Ilene Sorenson, who was critically injured while riding her bicycle in Las Vegas. The 53-year old was on an early morning training ride when she was struck by a sport utility vehicle.

According to Metro Police, a 2000 Toyota RAV 4 driven by 27-year old Yunfei Xin was traveling north on Cimarron Road around 4:45am Tuesday morning when it struck a curb, careened across the traffic lanes, hit another curb, struck a light pole and block wall, then veered back into the street and hit Sorenson, who was riding southbound on Cimarron. The triathlete was ejected from her bicycle into the SUV’s windshield. She was later transported to University Medical Center with critical injuries.

Xin died in the crash, and police are still investigating exactly what caused the accident to occur. But Sorenson’s fellow triathletes are worried not only about her current injuries, but also whether she will ever be able to ride again at a competitive level.

This incident illustrates the devastating impact that a bicycle accident can have on a person’s life even if they survive the crash. Sorenson is certainly entitled to be reimbursed for any medical expenses, lost wages from time missed at work, and future physical therapy costs (though she may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against Xin’s heirs to obtain this compensation). But if she is unable to compete in a sport she loves ever again – how can anyone put a price on that?