Hockey-tough Cory Sarich is living proof that you can get run over by the wheel of a three-quarter ton truck and walk away. But the former Avalanche defenseman, will never bike again. He has kept his splintered cycling helmet for teaching purposes, but ordered officials to get rid of the the rest of his biking gear that was shredded like his skin.

Sarich, 36, is lucky to be alive after he collided with a Ford F-350 truck driven by an elderly man on July 22 near his lake house outside Invermere, British Columbia. He sustained five broken vertebra, massive road rash and a deep head wound after crashing into the truck driven by an 85-year-old man who turned left in front of Sarich. The right rear wheel of the truck ran over Sarich's torso, with his stomach against the pavement, and one of his wrists was burned by the vehicle's tailpipe. Shockingly, Sarich stood up after the accident before being rushed to Invermere Hospital, then airlifted to a hospital in Calgary. Two weeks ago he was treated for a staph infection in his elbow, but he is otherwise doing well, considering all he's gone through.

"Had I been on my back and the truck goes over my front with ribs and vital organs, maybe a different story," Sarich said. "Your lumbar spine, and thoracic spine, is so strong. And the fact that it was his rear tire, they said — like if it's the front side with an engine — could be a completely different story. Someone was looking out for me and I'm very thankful."

Sarich, an unrestricted free agent who was told by the Avalanche in July before the accident that it was not interested in re-signing him, was biking as part of his training regime. He was confident he would be signed by another team in August. He was riding the Windermere Loop Road, a popular 40-minute training area. He saw the truck coming.

"We're going opposite directions and, no signal, he turns left," Sarich said. "I've only got 15-20 meters (50-60 feet) and he's right there in front of me, and taking up the whole road and going super slow and I'm breaking as hard as I can. Someone said I left about a 15-20 foot skid mark — I haven't been back there to see — and I was going to impact the side of his truck, and I ended up going off to the side and over my handlebars, landing on the left side of my body."