Skate Anatomy: Donny Barley

Donny Barley

Left side

Torn ligaments in ankle:
“I never had any ankle injuries before. I think, in general, I have a high flexibility rate and they would just bend. Then three months ago I tore some ligaments on the outer side of my ankle and the Achilles area. Lately, I’ve been taking care of that.”


Broken front teeth:
“While filming for Underachievers, I was trying to ollie into this narrow, granite, u-shaped thing they had for some sidewalk construction. It was only like a foot and a half wide. You could ollie in and shoot out of it. I was trying to ollie a metal trash can after it but I caught my truck on the edge and hung up. I got pitched into the metal can. The stupid part was that I put both hands out to stop me from hitting my face, and both arms went into the can. So I got both my hands in garbage and my mouth is like a can opener on the metal edge.”

Swallowed chipped teeth:
“I’ve broken my two front teeth like four or five times. This is a funny one. Anyway, I was working at a CVS Pharmacy when I was 17, and every Sunday I would want to go skating but I would have to work. It was the worst job and the manager would always have me stock the tampons and adult diapers. I hated it because I would go home smelling like a giant tampon. Anyway, I went in back to load some boxes of tampons and Depends and one of the boxes fell on the ground. I had to open the box anyway, and I used to open them by punching the middle, which had a perforated strip, and then pulling out to tear it open. This one box, for some reason, I punched it and couldn’t pull my hand out. I was so mad that I was there, I just lost it for a second and tried to body slam the box. I pulled so hard that when the box finally opened I ended up punching myself in the face. I chipped my tooth and swallowed it at the same time. I was so pissed I just left.”

Slipped disk in back:
“When I was like 17 I started getting this intense pain in my lower back. I remember driving in my car, and even while driving it would start hurting. I would get shortness of breath and it was just such a weird pain in the muscles. I ended up going to a chiropractor and the guy started asking me what I did. As soon as he found out I skated he knew what the problem was. He was saying how skateboarding is like a one-sided sport. Especially back in the day, without switchstance. You’re always leaning to one side, depending on your stance. I don’t go to the chiropractor anymore but that was a good learning experience.”

“I’ve had a couple minor ones…nothing too crazy. When I was a little kid I was trying to pull these weeds in my garden. They were so deep I had to put all my weight into it and I ended up falling back and hitting my head. I never even told my parents. I was like seven years old.”

Right side

Broken arm and dislocated wrist:
“I broke a bone on my right arm an inch above my wrist. It was either the radius or the ulna…the one that’s on the inside. We were skating my friend Jason’s ramp and for some reason the ramp was more slippery than usual. It was during the Smith-disaster-Smith days. I went up fakie and went to disaster and tried to go backside Smith revert like Ben Schroeder. I could do them pretty consistently but for some reason I slipped out. I planted my hand on the coping but at the same time sat on it. I got up and my wrist was dislocated and my arm was broken. I put my hand up under my other arm to support it and my wrist popped back into place.”

Elbow infection:
“I had like a reoccurring swellbow for a while on my lead side. Then in Tampa, last year, I fell on it but actually scraped it rather than banged it so I had an open wound. When you have scar tissue in a certain area and get an open wound it’s more apt to grow bacteria. I went to the hospital with this huge bump on my elbow and they explained what it was. So it was actually an infection rather than a bruise.”

Chipped bone in elbow:
“One time, I was in Japan skating through this mall and there was an extension cord going across the floor. I didn’t even see it. I hit it and just got tossed like a sack of potatoes. In general, I’m pretty limber but in this instance there was no way I was going anywhere but to my elbow. The elbow took the full impact on this marble floor and I chipped like an inch and a half off the bone in my elbow. It felt like it was completely jacked. One thing about skateboarders is that we never really go to the hospital. Skateboarders are built tough from just not even getting stuff checked out. I still get swellbows any time I go down on it.”SB