Skjelse Rapoch has no idea what happened to her.
One moment she was pedaling down a bike path. The next she was sprawled on the ground, her face a bloody mess.
At the hospital, doctors told her seven of her teeth were gone, several bones in her face were broken, her brain was bruised, her hand was broken and she had suffered a severe concussion.
The 25-year-old Portland, Oregon, woman is hoping someone will come forward to explain what happened to her last Tuesday on the Columbia Slough River Trail.
At first, she and her husband, Jeff, thought she must have flipped over her handlebars. But physicians said her injuries weren’t consistent with such a fall.
Now, the couple thinks someone must have attacked her as she rode alone – possibly with a rock that Jeff found on the trail and turned over to police.
He was supposed to meet his wife that night for a bicycle race, but she never showed up. Instead he got a call from a friend saying, “Hey, I found your wife, you need to get here right now,” he recounted to KOIN-TV.
He found his wife in the middle of the path, he said. “She was sort of sitting up and looking around, really kind of bewildered.”
Portland police consider the incident suspicious and are investigating, but the investigation has been hampered by a lack of witnesses and Rapoch’s inability to remember anything about her devastating injuries, according to a department spokesman.
Rapoch faces a long road to recovery and will need many dental surgeries to repair the damage to her mouth. Her lips and face remain painfully swollen, making it difficult for her to talk.
Her sister-in-law and her cousin have established a GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses.
“I woke up in the ER when the surgeons were resetting the bone on the roof of my mouth,” Rapoch wrote on her Facebook page.
“No one knows exactly what happened. Scary. Here’s the thing though – as scared as I am for the pain, the months of facial healing and paying for the 7 teeth I lost … I’m more scared for my friends, family and co-workers that don’t wear helmets,” she wrote.
The longtime cyclist is convinced her helmet saved her from even worse damage to her head.
“No matter what, please always wear your helmet,” she said.