CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A 17-year-old is in the hospital with a traumatic brain injury after an accident on a popular mountain biking trail over the weekend.

His father told FOX31 the trail was for downhill mountain bikers only, but hikers sent the teen flying off his bike, straight to the ICU at St. Anthony Hospital.

On the Sluice trail at Floyd Hill Open Space in Clear Creek County, there have been many mountain biking memories for Colorado dad Brian Holmgren and his son Cayel.

“It’s one of his, one of his favorite trails, we’ve been there numerous times,” Holmgren said. “I would say this is probably every parent’s nightmare.”

Holmgren says Cayel is a junior national-level racer. On Saturday, they were on the Sluice at Floyd Hill Open Space to get Cayel ready for an upcoming race. The Sluice is marked as a downhill biking trail only. 

“I was only about five, 10 seconds behind and I remember coming through one of the 180-degree bank turns and saw two people standing on the trail which caused me to shift course a bit,” Holmgren said. “I rolled over one of the little hills to find my son lying face down in the dirt, unresponsive and moaning like he had the wind knocked out of him. I was shaking and telling him to take a deep breath and then he started having a seizure.”

Cayel was rushed to St. Anthony Hospital’s ICU where he was diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury. 

While he is making progress, doctors are saying it will be one to two years before they could even consider Cayel possibly getting back on a mountain bike. 

“It breaks my heart because he made the comment to me today that this is a rest day for him,” Holmgren said. “His window is looking right at Green Mountain and he’s pointed out this morning he’s like, ‘see that? That’s where I’m riding.’ And I can’t tell him yet. You know, he just won’t understand.”

Holmgren wants all trail users to understand his son’s story and the importance of following the trail signs. 

“Signage is there for a reason, and when we ignore that signage, serious consequences can happen,” Holmgren said. “I never thought it would be to my son, to our family and now I’m living that moment and it’s devastating, really.”

Clear Creek County’s public information officer shared the following statement:

Our thoughts and well-wishes are with the person and family involved in this accident. People come from all over the country to recreate here in Clear Creek County and we want to ensure people are safe while out on our trails. 

The Sluice is downhill mountain bike only. Hiking is not permitted on this trail for the safety of hikers and mountain bikers. We encourage people to check online applications such as COTREX and AllTrails before heading out. On these apps, people are able to see the rules of each trail and what type of recreation is allowed on each. We also encourage people to check, and even take a photo of trail maps located at kiosks before going on trails. Those will not only help you when it comes to directions, but also consist of the rules for each trail including what is, and is not allowed on each trail. Again, we are hoping for the best for those involved in the incident.

Clear Creek County

There’s a GoFundMe created to help Cayel and his family with medical expenses and the journey to recovery ahead.

Doctors have recommended that Cayel moves into an inpatient neurological rehabilitation center next. His family is hoping he can go to Craig Hospital.