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Marc Goodwin on Breaking his Back
On October 14th 2010, Mag was riding and filming in London when he had an horrific accident that resulted in him breaking his back and spending three weeks in hospital where a full mend wasn't always certain.
Thankfully he made a full recovery and was back on his bike within a matter of months. We didn't make too much of what happened at the time as he was still in hospital so couldn't say too much. It was a massive deal to all of us at the time - we all hurt ourselves riding BMX but you never expect a friend to end up in hospital. Fortunately in our new video, Normal, you can see Mag riding both before and after his accident - and it's not easy to spot the difference. The crash is in there too. One year on, we thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with a quick interview:
Q. So talk us through the crash and those weeks in hospital…
It all happened so fast, one moment I was hacking for this ledge then the next I was on my arse 10-11 feet below. What happened was when I hopped to peg the ledge I had over-hopped and landed in a feeble instead, then somehow the rear peg came off the side of the ledge which made me fall off the back of the bike,. Where I had rode so fast to make sure I would make it to the end of the ledge I had done just that so instead of falling on my arse on the ledge I was falling in the air to the concrete ground below. I can still remember the gut-taking feeling of falling and hopelessly trying to get to my feet. Then thud. I hit the ground pretty much arse first in a sitting position then instantly fell back down on the floor winded and in a lot of pain. I wanted to get up and try to walk it off but it didn't matter how much I tried I just couldn't sit up; it was like someone was holding me down. It was then I knew I had done something bad. Some one called an ambulance and when they arrived they carefully slid me on a stretcher strapping me down so I couldn't move and cause more damage to myself - at this point I had know idea what damage I had done as they said it was all just a precaution. When I got to the hospital I was instantly getting CT scans, X-rays and ultrasounds - I knew then this wasn't going to be good. After waiting a while a surgeon finally came to see me with the bad news I had compression fractures on my T7 and T12 vertebrae which mean they where crushed, making me about a centimetre smaller. Amazingly enough none of the bits of bone had damaged my spinal cord so I was lucky I wasn't paralysed. He told me i was going to have an operation the next morning to pin the vertebrae above and below to hold one of the vertebrae in place. After about 5 days I still had not had this operation despite be starved 3 times so I would be ready for it. In the end I managed to talk to the surgeon about my options and decided to not have surgery but instead to just wear a custom back brace for 3-4 months. It took about a week before I got this brace so the whole time I had to wait I wasn't allowed out of bed, I wasn't even allowed to sit up or roll on my side incase my spine collapsed more. Once I got the brace on I was able to sit up again - it was such a good feeling! I still wasn't allowed to get out of bed but at least I could move about a little bit and sit up to eat my dinner. After another week I was finally allowed out of bed - it was so weird walking again and I was so wobbly on my feet it felt like I was just going to just collapse.
Q. Did you worry about not riding again?
At the time I was just grateful I wasn't paralysed but after a couple of weeks I was starting to wonder, is that it? Will I be able to ride again? If I can how will it affect me? It's a scary thought thinking you might not be able to do something that you enjoy doing so much.
Q. What did you do all day laying at home?
I'm not one for sitting around doing nothing, I like to be active but as I had no choice I pretty much ended up watching loads of films and getting addicted to skate 3 and GT5. What else would you do?
Q. How long until you were back on your bike?
I'm not too sure - maybe after 5 months I started to just ride my bike about just to keep myself sane but it slowly went from that to riding up to the skatepark then to having a little pump around the the bowl. I even ended up getting a photo for the last catalogue.
Q. Are you riding any differently to how you were before?
I'm a lot more cautious when I'm riding nowadays and if I'm not too sure about something I'm more likely to leave it than give it a go and see what happens.
Q. Your section in Normal is really good, especially as you were injured so badly - are you happy with how it turned out?
Yeah I'm pretty psyched with it, especially with the clips I got after my injury.
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