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Boulder Woman Credits Doctor For Giving Her The Chance To Ride Again

By Michael Abeyta

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) - Sarah Guenther loves to move. She's happiest when she's working up a sweat.

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(credit: CBS)

"I am an extreme human," she said.

That's why she decided to move from New York City to Colorado; to be among the natural beauty of the state as she goes to school and races triathlons.

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Right before she packed up, her training hit roadblock during a workout in New York City's Central Park.

"I was cut off by a tourist who was not paying attention, and instead of swerving I hit both of my brakes and I flew over my handlebars," Guenther said.

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(credit: Mt. Sinai Hospital)

She had a lot of road rash and needed 150 stitches in her face. Worst of all she had swelling in her neck which caused severe neck and shoulder pain.

"I was in so much pain I couldn't pick myself up out of bed."

Dr. Saad Chaudhary from Mt. Sinai Hospital remembers when he first saw her.

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(credit: Mt. Sinai Hospital)

"She had a very hard time lifting up her shoulder. She had a hard time even bending up her elbow to do basic tasks," Chaudhary said.

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Usually a spinal fusion would be performed to relieve the pressure placed on her disk, but she and Chaudhary were concerned about losing range of motion.

"So the procedure we selected for her was to again, decompress and remove the disk" said  Chaudhary. "But as opposed to fusing or locking that area we placed a mobile part or mobile disk in there that would allow her to retain her normal range of motion."

The procedure is relatively new, and rarely done in the United States, but for a young healthy woman like Guenther, it was exactly what was needed.

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Sarah Guenther (credit: CBS)

Today, she is moving fast again, but she knows she owes it all to her doctor.

"I was convinced after my accident that I wasn't going to be able to race again. Ever. Or ride a bike, and he has given me the chance at a new life. I'm indebted to him forever," she said.

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.

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