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B.C. MLA Ellis Ross suffers memory loss following bike incident

After traumatic cycling incident, Ross is piecing together the recent past
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross enjoys a bike ride on Sept. 16, 2020. Almost a year later, a cycling accident would result in short-term memory loss, prompting him to seek community support to recall recent events. (Peter Versteege photo)

Skeena B.C. United MLA Ellis Ross suffered a severe bike incident at a Kitimat bike park on Aug. 29, which led to what he describes as a major concussion and short-term memory loss.

In a candid interview with The Terrace Standard, Ross expressed his ongoing disorientation. “This is actually one of the worst times of my life,” he admitted. The trauma seems to have erased much of his recent memory, though some memories are triggered by conversations or reminders.

“Every time I see something or hear something… the memory comes back, but there’s still a lot of blank spaces,” Ross added. He said his long-term memory remains intact.

Recalling an incident since his accident, Ross mentioned, “A couple of days ago, I was at the airport looking for lost luggage and had a conversation with a friend. She reminded me of that yesterday, and it brought back the whole episode.”

Turning to social media as a form of therapy, Ross said, “I’m reading a lot of stuff on Facebook about things I’ve done in the last year and people I’ve met. A lot of people have stories about our times together, and it’s helping immensely.” Ross continued to emphasize the foggy state of his mind, which has made it stressful for him to remember recent events.

Given his condition, Ross decided to clear his calendar for the upcoming weeks. “I understand the nature of some tasks I’m supposed to perform, but I don’t recall any specifics. I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time, so I decided it was better to just cancel.”

He said a doctor diagnosed him with a major concussion and advised Ross to relax for a few days and later begin a schedule for physiotherapy.

Ross revealed that he has had prior injuries and concussions, but according to his family, this has been the most severe. “I’ve got to take them at their word because I have no clue what happened over the last few days,” he added.

Addressing rumors circulating online, Ross stressed on his commitment to safety while biking. “Some accounts have been saying that I wasn’t wearing my helmet and that is strange because I love biking and I’m always wearing a helmet. I can’t say whether or not that was true or not, but it does go to say that when you’re biking or doing some other type of activity, you’ve got to wear your helmet.”

Ross took to Facebook on Aug. 31, seeking help in piecing his memory back together. In the video, his face bore the scars from the accident. “I don’t remember going to any bike park. I don’t remember being on a bike. I don’t remember going to the hospital. I don’t remember anything that happened last week.” He urged his followers to comment on the post with details of their interactions over the past year, hoping that such reminders would help restore his memory. “The more people mention things to me, the more I remember,” Ross noted.

Apart from memory loss, Ross also sustained physical injuries. “My ligament was sticking out, pushing the clavicle up so it was visible. I also have a sprained tendon in my shoulder and can’t lift my arm,” he described of shoulder damage.

Ross said he’s grateful for his long-term memory and the support of friends and others.

Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.

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