Often times as a fan it’s easy to get caught up in the spectacular, as we tend to focus our attention on the wins and losses, the stats, the progressive tricks, and the pure entertainment value of what we are cheering for. As we focus our attentions to these instant gratifications we have a tendency to overlook what is at stake for the Athletes we cheer so passionately for.
Whether it be screaming at your TV for the QB to get back into the game after a concussion because he’s on your fantasy team, or cursing at the contest organizers of the freestyle moto contest you paid your hard earn money to go see only for it to be canceled due to rain and high winds.
It’s easy to focus on the fame, glory, and money that come with being a professional athlete but it takes a more knowledgeable fan to understand the other side of the equation, the risks and safety of the athletes.
Arguably, none is truer than in Action Sports. Just last weekend, we were quickly reminded of the everyday danger, while in Salt Lake City competing in the Dew Tour, Metal Mulisha up and comer Robbie Adelberg made a minor mistake before taking off on a jump he has done several times. Adelberg ejected from his bike in mid air landing hard on the dirt breaking his tib and fib on right leg, a shattered right ankle, a broken left ankle and broken right wrist. He’s a considered to be very lucky; he’ll make a full recovery and be able to continue his career. Some aren’t so lucky though, such as Jeremy Lusk,who we lost in February of 2009 while competing in a freestyle competition.
The Action Sports Industry has grown accustomed to stories about serious injuries, stories like that of snowboarder Kevin Pearce who endured a serious brain injury while training for the Olympics, or the story of BMX rider Stephan Murray who flatlined on the way to the hospital but later was revived when he fell on a trick that he once landed to win an X Games Gold. None of us will forget the story of Jesse Billauer who severed his spinal chord while surfing Zuma Beach rendering him a quadriplegic for the rest of his life. These are just a few stories in a long list of tragic accidents that have occurred,leaving these athletes an uphill fight to recovery.
The purpose of this story isn’t to go through the numerous serious injuries throughout the years in action sports; the purpose is to remind us as fans, to truly appreciate the thin line between a successful trick and a fatal trick.
Don’t feel bad for these guys, they know what they are doing, this is their life, this is who they are, and this is what they do, but remember as these athletes continue to make it look effortless and routine as the push the laws of gravity, tip your hat to them and appreciate what we love to cheer for!
Check out the Athlete Recovery Fund to learn more about the fight to help recovering Action Sports Athletes.
Photo courtesy of Metal Mulisha.com