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Friday, 22 July 2011

"A Story that Hits You in the Heart..."

A Heartbreaking Tragedy...

I noticed this heart-wrenching story at the AOL news section.  (7-22-2011) I thought to share it with my readers.
~ Catherine

In Colorado mixed martial arts circles, he's known simply as "Dr. Alex," a physician with a big love of the sport, and a big heart for the fighters who inhabit it. It's been a world he can't get enough of. At various times, he's been a cageside doctor, a judge, and a referee. And when that was not enough, Alex Constantinides, a man who spent five years in medical school, one year in internship, and two in residency, a man whose brain was his most important 

Alex Constantinidesasset, decided to fight.
Why would he? Was it for fame, money or glory? Of course not. He fought so he could gain a better understanding of what the athletes were going through. He wanted to feel what they felt, experience what they experienced, so he could better care for them. He did it for a reason that some feel is slowly fading from the medical profession: empathy.

No one today could imagine how he feels though, not after Dr. Alex experienced a horrific tragedy, one that shook his world and rocked the local fight community. On a rainy Tuesday in southern Wyoming, the doctor and his family were among the many cleared from a campground by authorities due to progressively dangerous conditions. Driving along Route 130, their vehicle plunged into raging waters caused by a flash flood. 

By the time the night was over, he would be a victim, and he would also be a hero. 

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Dr. Alex was driving a van with his wife and three children. The family had been camping in the North Bush Creek campgrounds, and torrential rains had made the area dangerous. The idea was a move to higher, safer ground. But as the family drove east on Snowy Range Road, authorities say that a 25-foot section of road was washed away by a flash flood. The family's van fell nine feet into the water and was swept about 250 feet downstream. 

Photos from the Wyoming Highway Patrol show that the van came to rest against a set of trees, and rushing water quickly submerged it. Only Dr. Alex was able to escape. His wife Laurel and their daughters Hanna, 8, Zoey, 5, and Lucia, 2, died.

"It's just such a tragedy," said Sven Bean, a promoter who since 2000 has been running the popular Ring of Fire organization in Colorado. "I don't think anyone could imagine what he went through. Whether you're involved in MMA or not, it's a story that hits you in the heart and one you never want to hear. He's a great guy and it's just heartbreaking this happened to him."

Even in that crisis, even in a life-shattering moment, he was still willing to help.

Shortly after surviving the floodwaters, Dr. Alex had climbed on a bush pile when a Carbon County Emergency Management Truck driven by Saratoga mayor John Zeiger fell into the same waters. Despite being unable to save his own family, Dr. Alex worked his way upstream and pulled Zeiger from his truck. 

As of Wednesday, Colorado news organizations reported Zeiger was still hospitalized in stable condition while Dr. Alex had been treated and released.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, the Colorado MMA community has been shaken. Word of the terrible accident spread quickly, and several efforts have been launched to support him as well as the family's favored causes. With donated proceeds going to, an organization that offers care to China's orphaned children. It is a cause close to the family, whose three daughters were adopted.

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