I know most of my content on here is ultra-related, but I just wanted to post a brief tribute to a good friend of mine who passed away today after battling a coma for six months.
I first met Scott Doyle (aka “Moose” or “Other Scott”) at Bridge Day ’07 where Scott and his lovely wife Steph were both enjoying the six hours of legal BASE jumping that happens every year at the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, WV. As it turned out, Scott was a fellow Marylander, so he was quickly indoctrinated into the MD BASE Crew (which I am not technically a member of because I do not BASE jump).
The day after Bridge Day, some folks headed out to a local less-than-legal antenna where Scott and Steph both did their first antenna jumps. I hung around and took pictures. Fast forward a couple months to the beginning of skydiving season ’08 and who else is joining me in the ranks as staff members at Skydive Delmarva? None other than the safe, caring, and funny tag-team of Scott and Steph Doyle. Scott and I were both somewhat newly-licensed tandem instructors while Steph taught AFF students. Over the course of the year we had our share of fond memories – the overweight students, the puking students, the close call malfunctions and the late-night dropzone shenanigans. It was all good fun that we shared together, and as per usual in the sport, we grew closer as part of the Delmarva family.
Since ultrarunning has come into my life, I have spent a significantly less amount of time at the dropzone, but that didn’t make it hurt any less when on May 10, 2009 I got a call saying that Scott had suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury and had gone into a coma while BASE jumping in Idaho with Steph. For six months he fought his hardest to wake up, at some points showing movement and responding to external stimuli, but today his body had enough of the fighting and decided it was time to move on to a more peaceful place.
It is with great sadness that I remove my “Wake up Scott” wristband that I have worn these past six months and add it to my desk alongside a picture of Bert Brooks, another good skydiving friend who lost his life while BASE jumping with his loved one. Scott wasn’t the first skydiving/BASE friend to go, and unfortunately he won’t be the last. BASE truly is an unforgiving sport.
As a tough-as-nails firefighter saving the lives of others and also as a skydiving instructor sharing the gift of flight with those looking to experience something new, Scott definitely earned his angel wings. Fly free my brother. I will miss you…
Here is the LINK to Steph Doyle’s blog from the past 6 months.