Going Under The Knife
Kyle Chisholm heads to surgery
By Jordan Powell
After a mid-air collision sent Toyota/JGR/Yamaha’s Kyle Chisholm to the hospital with a loss of feeling in both legs, panic raced through his mind. Fortunately, as the hours passed in his hospital bed, pain started to slowly settle in his legs, which only meant one thing: he didn’t have paralysis. In the days since, Chiz has been going back and forth to his doctor’s office in Jacksonville, Florida, to determine the extent of his injuries, and recently found out that he will be going under the knife tomorrow morning to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, and to plate his left fibula back together. With plenty of free time on his hands, Chisholm took a break from playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and gave us a call to update us on the recent news.
So, take us through that crash. What happened?
Well, leading up to the crash, Matt Goerke and I had been battling with each for a couple of laps. Right before the finish line, I had squared him up in the sand section, and made the pass. I guess he wasn’t too happy about that because he ended up block passing me back. We both kept making some mistakes, though, and that made us fall back in position. Coming up to the triple, we were almost side-by-side and, for some reason, [Jake] Weimer didn’t triple. So, instead of braking, Goerke cut over on me in the air. It wasn’t like he didn’t know that we were that close together because it’s a pretty well known fact that on the second lap of the race, all the riders are still pretty much bunched together. With that being said, you don’t jump from left to right off of triples. So, before we even took off, I knew the outcome wasn’t going to be good. As I saw him get closer to me in the air, I figured that if we bumped against each other, I could probably save it. What had happened, though, was that when his footpeg hit my bike, it ripped my front end down. At that point, I had to bail. So, I jumped off the bike, and right before I hit the ground, my bike bounced off the backside of the triple and flew into my back. If you can remember the crash that happened to Ryan Villopoto in St. Louis of 2010, my crash happened just about the same way.
Were you not able to move your legs at first?
It was a little scary at first. My first instinct was to get my butt off the track because I was lying on the backside of a triple, but when I went to crawl away, my legs felt like they weighed a 1,000 pounds. Basically, it felt like a car was parked on top of my legs. So, my legs weren’t doing what I wanted them to do, and there was a lot of burning and tingling going on from my waist down. I ended up getting dragged off the track, which I wasn’t very happy about, but once I got to the side, I was just trying to process everything that was going on. Doc Bodnar and the Asterisk Medical Crew showed up shortly after, and by that time, I was starting to have some pain in my legs, which was good.
What happened in the days since your crash? We know that you were going back and forth to the doctors a lot.
Well, I spent the first night in the hospital. They wanted me to say another night, but the feeling in my legs was coming back, and the MRI for my spinal cord turned out to be good. If all of the major injuries were getting better, I told them I’d rather be home. So, we ended up catching a late flight back to Florida that Sunday. Since then, I’ve been going back and forth to Dr. Augustine in Jacksonville, Florida, and he’s done some more imaging on my legs to figure out what’s going on. I actually found out on the Friday before Daytona that I’m going to have surgery tomorrow.
Were the MRIs only for your legs?
Pretty much both ankles and my left knee were messed up. My right ankle has a little chip and the bones are bruised, but there’s nothing on that side that needs to be repaired. On the left side, though, I tore my PCL and meniscus, and I broke my fibula at the ankle. It was a clean break, but they’re going to have to plate it. So, what they’re going to do in surgery tomorrow is fix the break, and scope my left knee to repair the meniscus. From the MRI, my ACL looked to be fine, but if it’s not, I gave the doctor the go-ahead to repair it. Basically, if my ACL looks questionable, I don’t want to start riding in a couple of months and have my ACL blown out. I’d rather just get it fixed with this surgery tomorrow. Fingers crossed, though, that the MRI is right.
It’s kind of a bummer because you just started to get a feel for that Toyota/JGR/Yamaha.
Yeah. Aside from being hurt and not being to walk right now, it’s really disappointing to know that I didn’t really get a fair shot to ride that bike. The guys over at Toyota/JGR/Yamaha have been really supportive, though, and depending on the outcome tomorrow, I could possibly come back for some of the outdoors. However, that all depends on how bad my knee is.
What are you doing now? Are you helping Britney [Chisholm] with all of her errands [laughs]?
I can’t even do that! The splint that’s on my left leg goes from my hip down to my ankle, and my right leg has a boot on it. So, there’s not a lot I can do because I’ll be in a wheelchair for a little while.