FreestyleXtreme Magazine Issue 25 - Page 90

We must start with the obvious question. How are you? “ ...you’re concentrating so hard on that whilst thinking “I’m going to make this, I’m going to make this” until you get to the point where you go “s**t! I’m not!” Flipping frustrated! You know what it’s like when you hurt yourself: you can have a wrist injury, or a collarbone, ankle injury - something like that, they don’t really count, kind of like an occupational hazard - but when you have a big one and it puts you out for a while… We are all great people to be around until we’re unable to do what we normally do. At the moment, I can’t drive, I can’t fly, I’m relying on people to take me around, sleeping’s not great. Just all the little frustrating bits that come along with an injury are probably worse than the actual pain of the injury itself. Talk us through the accident... It was a really strange one because I was really looking forward to the Snetterton test. I really like the track, I’ve won a lot there, the bike works good there. The boys said, “right, okay, you have new brake pads front and rear, just go out and give them a couple of laps and then we will start cracking on and work through our program”. I thought right, okay - I set off, did my out lap and was just real steady. On the brakes down into turn two, just squeezing the lever on and letting it off then back on again (to bed the pads in), so I wasn’t in a rush at all. I accelerated out of turn two, clicked 3rd gear and moved out to the right-hand side approaching turn three. As soon as I went to drop into turn three, the rear of the bike came right around and went really sideways. The Ducati is really rigid, and when it snapped itself back straight it did so in a really big way. It went right to the lock-stop and then went “vaa-ding!” really badly the other way. That put me onto the grass without much braking, then it was a case of just trying to scrub off speed and trying to get turned; you’re concentrating so hard on that whilst thinking “I’m going to make this, 90 | FreestyleXtreme.com I’m going to make this” until you get to the point where you go “S**t! I’m not!” So I basically bailed out and went head-first into the tyre wall. And the extent of the injuries? That posed a bit of a problem. Because the impact smashed the top of my neck, the top two bones in my neck were kind of obliterated - and then some vertebrae snapped off, and it actually pealed the spine itself open a little bit and exposed the spinal cord and all sorts. I don’t really remember too much after the crash itself. I don’t remember the medical centre at Snetterton. I remember coming around and feeling a bit groggy in hospital. I remember speaking to the surgeon for the first time following CT and MRI scans. One of the first things he said to me was how on earth are you not paralysed, and I was like “you’re the doctor, you tell me”. The long and the short of it was it had made a bit of a mess. In the end, we had to wait three or four days for the operation. They got me stabilised, sorted out and then did the operation. The really difficult thing was - he had said to me the first time I d met him - the operation itself wasn’t a problem, but dealing with the spinal cord there was a chance that when I came around I might be paralysed. I’m laid there thinking, ok I’m smashed to bits now, but I’m not paralysed. Do I really want to be fixed if there is a risk you could do that to me? Luckily it didn’t go that way and here we are now. So you have the neck halo on now, what is the prognosis with that and the recovery plan going forward? It’s a really difficult one to answer, I have a CT scan and will see my surgeon this Tuesday coming. It’s been five or six weeks since I last saw him. There are titanium plates, bolts and screws in my back. Two of the bits between the vertebrae are fused already. They screwed u