Former paramedic raising awareness of PTSD after death of luger at Vancouver Olympics
Six years after the death of a Georgian luge athlete on the opening day of the 2010 Olympics, the paramedic who tried to save him is still trying to shed the chains of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Forty-five-year-old Terrance Kosikar has just finished a gruelling physical test flipping a nearly 200 kilogram tractor tire through the back roads towards Whistler, B.C., while wearing nearly 25 kilograms of steel chain.
The tire and chain became the symbols of Kosikar's burden, and his long and lonely battle with suicide attempts and addiction after the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili.
The former paramedic wants the problem of PTSD pushed out of the shadows, saying first responders are trained to save lives, but are never taught about the dangers to their own mental health.
He also says more should be done to remember Kumaritashvili, the young luger who was travelling at nearly 144 kilometres per hour when he slammed into a pole during a practice run in Whistler on the open day of the Olympics.
Kosikar says he wishes more of his former colleagues had turned out Sunday to watch him flip the giant tire through Whistler, but he and his supporters are confident the journey has given traction to the discussion surrounding PTSD.