2006 Kawasaki ZX-6R

Me & My Bike

Photography by Paul Kazulak

My accident happened on October 5, 2007. I was on my '05 Suzuki GSX-R1000, just 2 miles from home. I came around a blind corner and there was a Chevy Lumina in my lane. I woke up almost a month later, on November 1. I fractured four vertebra and five ribs, broke my femur in half and destroyed my collarbone. I also fractured my skull-my Z1R helmet saved my life. And my left ankle was totally crushed. Doctors took off my leg 6 inches below the knee.

"I never once thought about giving up riding. It's my life. I was back on the bike by January, a week after I got my first prosthetic fitted. My physical therapist was not thrilled. But I'm a very goal-oriented person, and having something to work toward-getting back on my bike-helped me a lot. A lot more than the antidepressants they put me on, which just gave me headaches.

"Surprisingly, I didn't have to make many modifications to my stunt bike. Pingel helped me out with a solenoid-operated electronic shifter, so I can shift up or down just by pressing a button. And I had to cut away more of my tailsection, so I don't get my foot stuck in there. If you have an ankle you can wiggle your foot in and out-I can't. Otherwise, it's set up pretty much exactly as before

"My body is almost back to normal. When I was released from the hospital, I could only move my left knee 50 degrees. Now, after lots of PT, I'm at 140-145 degrees of flexion-essentially normal. Mostly, I'm just happy to have my old life back. The summer before my accident was huge: I performed a stunt exhibition in Shanghai, as part of the Chinese MotoGP, and also did shows in Indonesia, Singapore and Canada. I was able to return to China twice in '08-performing again at MotoGP in May, and then returning in August for a private event for Ferrari. My riding career is back on track-you can't imagine how happy I am about that!"

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