Photo: Teddy Pieper - 30 footer in Jeremy’s backyard
Injury talk with
‘Nothing, nothing reaches the satisfaction that comes with getting sideways over a big jump or nosing in a three mid line in the woods. Without the risk of injury, those feelings and sensations might not exist.’
When was your last major injury and what was the story behind it?
My last major injury was a severe contusion on my hip. It actually happened while riding motocross. I high sided when my rear tire skipped out of a rut at a pretty high speed. My doctor thought it was way more serious than it was. The amount of swelling that happened along with the bruising led them to think I had some internal damage.
That fall kept me sidelined for pretty much all of June. It was physically the hardest/fastest slam I have ever had. I couldn’t ride my BMX bike for weeks because of the jiggling that happened. I’m a tough dude and it really kept me sidelined. I resorted to riding my Morpheus DJ the most during that time and I dug a ton too; my jumps were prime after that injury.
Worst ever injury?
It is kind of a toss-up between repeated head injuries and a knee injury I suffered years ago when I tore every major ligament. I think my head stuff keeps adding up. I seem to get knocked out or concussed easier and easier every time now and that isn’t fun. I make sure I wear a CPSC helmet whenever I am riding and I also am overly aware about taking time off now when I need to because of anything head related.
I tore all of the ligaments in my knee when I was 18 when I overshot a fufanu on a backrail. I had a scope done to confirm the injury and then had nothing fixed. They told me the down time would be a year and I thought I couldn’t afford to lose a year then, and I keep making the same excuse all the time now. So for the past 15 years I have been walking around on a loose knee. I just run a lot, ride a lot of road bike and dig a bunch to keep it strong. It seems to be working so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.
What do you do to fill time when you can’t ride?
I have been pretty fortunate as far as having physically limiting injuries. If I can’t ride, I still stick to my regular schedule in the summer. I go to my jumps, dig, read, ride road, take my dog for a walk, spend some quality time with my wife and take care of some odds and ends.
I think staying active helps me heal faster from simple things like bone breaks (I break my foot a lot). If I am hurt I try not to take any time off from doing things I like as silly as it sounds. I may not be able to ride, but I’m going to stay active in some way. I try to use every day and not dwell on the negative.
‘One time I was at Catty Woods and landed low and overshot on a 450. I knew my ankle was toasted and had an idea that I had about 10 minutes before real pain set in. It was going to be my last trip to Catty for the summer so I only had one real option. Back up the hill I went ’
What have you learnt from injuries?
The most important thing I have learned from injuries was actually more about work, drive, and desire. It takes a pretty severe injury to make me miss work. I have broken my tailbone and gone to work the next day. It sucked, but I love my career as an educator and I don’t like to miss days. Toughing through injuries to do things that I want to do helps me put things into perspective. Injuries further your drive in all things and bring out your desire to accomplish what you want to do.
I remember falling really hard on an opposite 360. I was out for a good amount of time with some internal things one summer. All I could think about was how I was going to go and, come hell or high water, oppo three that thing as soon as I could. First session back, full tilt, I let it rip. It felt like I had done it before because I had done it so many times over and over in my head while I was out. The feeling of satisfaction after doing something that has taken you out, something you have pondered over time and time again, can’t really be beat.
Has anything positive come out of them?
I feel injuries reinforce why we do what we do. There’s something about risk vs. reward that feels so good. When your foot is shaking after doing something frightening, that reward is unbelievable.
Some people think a roller coaster is a rush. I have a roller coaster in my back yard that I am not strapped into, with big gaps, a high rate of speed, and with a pretty intense danger factor. I like knowing that a lot. Injuries bring to light the intensity, but reinforce the reward. Nothing, nothing reaches the satisfaction that comes with getting sideways over a big jump or nosing in a three mid line in the woods. Without the risk of injury, those feelings and sensations might not exist.
Have any hard slams or injuries made you think differently about riding, or changed how you ride?
I don’t think falls really have changed how I ride. Trying to get maximum roast, as sideways as possible and threeing big stuff is what I do. I still do what I have always done, and I am probably more aware and experienced of how to get out of trouble once it starts if it were to occur.
Once again, not to sound dumb, but bigger stuff really seems safer and better to me to ride. I have a lot more time to figure out how to get out of trouble on bigger stuff. I have a bowl in my basement that is four foot high and I have fallen harder on that thing this winter than I did all of last summer. You just can’t get away from stuff as easily on smaller stuff.
‘I have a bowl in my basement that is four foot high and I have fallen harder on that thing this winter than I did all of last summer. You just can’t get away from stuff as easily on smaller stuff. ’
Have you ever been told you wouldn’t ride again, what was your response?
I haven’t had that happen. My wife and I have had the talk about what would happen if that were to ever occur, and I think she agrees that I would just be unbearable to be around. A couple of weeks without riding puts me in a grumpy mood so I couldn’t imagine what a lifetime would be like.
I have had the scare of some fractured vertebrae before after I broke my tailbone. That one wasn’t cool. I didn’t even realise that I was in such bad shape. I actually rode a contest and then went to the doctor afterwards.
My doctor is Sara Stanton, wife of 6 time AMA motocross champion Jeff Stanton. She’s always honest with me when it comes to stuff and doesn’t beat around the bush. If I break something she gives me a realistic timetable of return. If it is something more serious she lets me know. If it is something simple like a broken metatarsal, she gives me the real answer and I keep doing what I feel like doing.
After your last big injury, how long did it take to get everything back on the bike, and how did you get over any self-doubt or loss of confidence?
I try to get back on as quick as I possibly can. I try to force myself to do what took me out usually. I have a stubborn side, and even if I’m hurt I try to get up and do just what I went down on.
One time I was at Catty Woods and landed low and overshot on a 450. I knew my ankle was toasted and had an idea that I had about 10 minutes before real pain set in. It was going to be my last trip to Catty for the summer so I only had one real option. Back up the hill I went, I did the same 450, corrected my miscalculation and chilled the rest of the day. If I hadn’t gotten back up and gone right back to the top, that one might of haunted me. I’m glad I did what I did though. In the words of Dalton from Roadhouse, “Pain don’t hurt.”
I have amazing people who have always helped me out and never pushed me to do anything that I am not comfortable with. If something happened and I got hurt to a point that I couldn’t ride again, I know the people who help me out would still be considered my friends. I want to thank those people for their love and support. I also want to thank my parents who have never questioned me, what I have built, and what I do. A big thanks goes out to my wife too, because she is always down to help me out in any way possible with everything I do (even letting me build a ramp in my basement instead of purchasing a new kitchen). Lastly, a big thanks goes to my friends who I ride with. They aren’t my friends because we ride together, they are my friends because they are top notch people. BMX is only a small part of the relationships I have with people. Everyone should be so lucky in life to have the care and support network that I do. Even when I fall, I still feel truly blessed.