Yukon Quest musher recovering from concussion, family says

'What he explained to me was, his sled was completely inverted — upside down — and he hit his head right on the ice,' said musher Jason Campeau's brother.

Jason Campeau was withdrawn from the race on Thursday after calling for help

Jason Campeau, of Rocky Mountain House, Alta., was withdrawn from the Yukon Quest on Thursday after calling for help from the trail. His family says he fell and suffered a concussion. (Julien Schroder/Yukon Quest)

The family of musher Jason Campeau, who dropped out of the Yukon Quest on Thursday, says he suffered a concussion after a fall during the race.

Campeau called for help from the trail on Wednesday, and was airlifted to Fairbanks the next day. Race officials would only say that he suffered a "medical issue."

His brother and dog handler, Jody Campeau, said the accident happened sometime before the checkpoint where he'd last seen Jason. 

"He just said, 'that run was a disaster,'" said Jody.

"I think at some point, Jason was reaching out to try to help with some of his dogs, and what he explained to me was, his sled was completely inverted — upside down — and he hit his head right on the ice. And I think that's where he suffered the concussion."

Jody says another musher — Hugh Neff — was nearby at the time and able to help Jason, who had briefly blacked out.

"Jason said to me, 'I got a concussion, Hugh's voice woke me up.'"

Jody says his brother decided to forge on with the race, but eventually had to pull the plug and call for help. 

"He probably pushed too far as it was. I mean, he was really red-lining here," he said.

Out of hospital

The injured musher was flown to hospital in Fairbanks to be checked out, and has since been released, according to his wife. Jennifer Campeau was also competing in the Quest this year, but she dropped out of the race on Thursday.

She said she was immediately concerned when she heard about Jason's accident. He had suffered concussions before from playing hockey, she said.

"I've known what happened the last couple times he had concussions, and it took awhile to recover. So I was a little worried, but they were assuring me he was OK."

Campeau's wife, Jennifer Campeau, was competing in her first Yukon Quest this year. 'We were excited to be able to both be doing that race together,' she said. (Julien Schroder/Yukon Quest)

Jennifer was in Dawson City by Friday morning along with other family members who hoped to greet the mushers when they reached that checkpoint. Instead, they were hitting the road to Fairbanks to meet Jason.

She says her husband was feeling dizzy on Friday, but later started to feel better. He was given the OK to fly to Eagle, Alaska, to meet his dog team, and then fly on with the animals to Dawson City.

Jason Campeau is a race veteran. He finished the race in 2015 and scratched last year. Jennifer was competing for the first time.

"We were excited to be able to both be doing that race together," she said.

"Sometimes it's just not meant to be."

With files from Claudiane Samson and Philippe Morin

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.