'Devoted' Father, 47, Who Was Expecting His Second Child Dies After Tragic Cycling Accident
A Utah family has been left heartbroken after their beloved father and husband died from a cycling accident.
Stephan "Todd" Wahl died on Oct. 19, just ten days after was severely injured in the accident on Olympic Parkway in Park City, according to his obituary.
The father, 47 — who had a 3-year-old son, Nolan, and was preparing to welcome his second child in May with wife Jessica — was paralyzed after the accident but multiple complications that followed eventually led to his death, a GoFundMe page for Wahl states.
"This bright future was interrupted by the tragic events that unfolded," his family wrote in his obit. "We all are heartbroken to have lost such an honorable, devoted, humorous and hard-working man."
"A man who gave his all to the things and people he loved," they continued. "He will be greatly missed by those who knew him: from the simple interactions of the coffee shop baristas to his family and friends who feel a gaping hole where a great human being once stood."
Wahl was described in his obituary as "a man with nine lives" and "a risk-taker by nature, which led to uniquely fun experiences and dangerously compromising scenarios."
Though he enjoyed almost anything that gave him an adrenaline rush — including sports, rock-climbing and snowboarding — his family said cycling was his passion and it quickly became a "huge focus of his life" after he started as a teen.
"As Todd tended to do with most things in which he was interested, he pursued cycling with passion, commitment, and determination to do his very best," they wrote. "He trained hard, won or placed in local races, and supported the founding and flourishing of the cycling group Cicada."
Following the incident in early October, Wahl was life-flighted from Park City to the University of Utah, according to the GoFundMe.
Over the next 24 hours, doctors determined that Wahl had broken ribs on both sides, a broken neck, a broken sternum, and a broken back at his T7, which is located below the diaphragm.
At the time, his family was "absolutely devastated" that Wahl — who worked as a Project Manager for a construction company — was now a paraplegic but hoped that he would be able to maintain the use of his arms through rehab, the GoFundMe stated.
However, in the days that followed, Wahl's "breathing, pain, vitals, sleep, and cognition" were not stable and he eventually went "into cardiac arrest due to aspiration," according to the fundraiser.
"They did 17 minutes of CPR and brought him back, and he is in a coma," an update on Oct. 16 read.
The next day, it was confirmed that Wahl was "showing minimal signs of brain activity," despite not having any brain swelling, herniations, or bleeding.
Doctors said they believed it was due to the "significant brain damage" that Wahl suffered after "being without oxygen for those critical 17 minutes," according to the GoFundMe.
By Oct. 19, Wahl's family and wife "made the heartbreaking decision of withdrawing care and allowing Todd to pass as peacefully as possible" because "although his body was being kept alive, the Todd we know and love was no longer with us," the fundraiser stated.
Wahl's death came as he was in the midst of renovating his family's home in anticipation of their newest addition.
"The plan was to continue with the internal and external renovation of their home throughout the next year so that they could enjoy more space for their growing family," his obit reads, noting that Wahl hoped to finish the house before the arrival of their new baby.
"Todd was ecstatic to have another child and hoped for a girl. Girl or boy, he would be overjoyed at the opportunity to become a father a second time," his family added. "You will never see a more devoted, playful, proud, engaged father. He took on his fatherly roles, those traditional and not, with eagerness and skill."
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In the wake of his passing, a celebration of life was held in November. The GoFundMe has also raised over $190,000 so far to help Wahl's wife of 10 years, their son Nolan and their unborn child.
"If you know this family, you must also know that they are both fighters. Jess and Todd are both in long-term recovery, and both have more than 10 years sober," the GoFundMe reads. "Jess is terrified about what their future holds, but she is holding it together for her family."
"Jess feels the weight of the world on her shoulders right now and I am hoping, with the help of people who are as kind and generous as they are, we can help carry them through this," the page's description continues.
Those interested in donating to Wahl's GoFundMe can so do here.