Having gone through a short, nasty injury myself recently, it put things into perspective regarding the psyche of bike riders. I particularly find it inherent in BMX riders - even those who suffer catastrophic brain injuries - a powerful drive to ride again.
Working with the general public, it's something I don't see among other groups of people who don't have this type of passion. Most of the people I meet who become injured, sick, distressed, suffer from mental illness (like depression) - or even those with addiction issues - seem to take longer to heal, if ever. Many will stay injured or sick for the rest of their lives. However, among certain athletes, the desire to continue so they may indulge in their respective sport is so strong their will to heal is more powerful than any pharmaceutical drug on the market.
I saw this with my friend, Luis (MTB rider). He was hit by a car and broke his leg. Without his leg being completely healed, he went riding with us one day and broke it again. While the general public looks at this and exclaims, "STUPID!" - only people in our type of sport(s) would understand. There are stories of Mat Hoffman taping his broken hand to his handlebar to finish a comp run and other perceivably "insane" self-administered surgeries so he can continue to ride. MMA fighters will often finish fights (and sometimes win) with broken hands, broken orbital sockets and other injuries. They will argue with officials to allow them to continue fighting. I'm positive surfers, boarders, skaters and other athletes have this same drive.
Often times, no matter how bad the injury is, it's the passion for the sport that pushes a person forward.
I know, for me, when I hurt my back... I was less concerned about missing work and most concerned about missing riding. I couldn't care any less about going to the gym, going to meet with clients, etc. - I just wanted to heal so I could ride. I did every therapeutic thing possible to heal as fast as I could so I could get back on the bike. Nothing was more important to me concerning that injury than riding again.
I feel this is a virtue that isn't promoted enough these days. This idea of a passion being the driving force to motivate a person to rise above all, to heal and move forward away from whatever it is ailing them. Yes, some injuries and illnesses cannot be fixed or may take years and years of therapy to overcome - but the passion and desire is still there.
The alternative is apathy, self-loathing and eventually - death. But for those who lack that fire in their souls, death occurred many years ago.
I leave with two videos, one of Brett Banasiewicz and of my friend, Joseph Moody. Stay Strong, my Brothers.
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