By Brendan Lutes
Trey Canard is on the long road to recovery following his terrifying Los Angeles crash with Ryan Morais. Canard was unable to launch the triple on the opening lap when a Tuff Block cover became tangled on his bike, and as he rolled the landing, the frame rails of Morais’ Yamaha landed directly on Canard’s helmet and upper back. The two received an extensive list of injuries and have made progress since that January night. We caught up with Canard to hear what the time frame for recovery is, what he has done with his down time, and what the future holds for the talented racer.
How are things going since your Los Angeles crash?
It is going pretty well, especially for what it is. The crash was really a big deal and a super traumatic thing. That (the crash), a spinal cord injury, and to break your back is a pretty bad thing, but for what it is I am doing pretty good. I don’t have as much pain anymore and I am hoping to start physical therapy soon. I’d like to start a little bit of physical activity, not very much at all, but start being able to do some more things and that is exciting. Other than that, I’m just trying to enjoy the time off and take the best that I can out of it rather than dwell on it too much, just take it for what it is and move forward.
Can you take us back to that night and tell us what happened?
I think that I was putting too much on myself to do well right out off the bat. I hadn’t ridden a lot, so I needed to back off myself. In the first turn, I tried to make something happen that probably wasn’t able to happen at the time, and I got sideways and jumped in to the bales. When I did that, it grabbed a Tuff Block and I knew that going down the first straight, but I didn’t know what to do about it. “Do I jump right now?” “Is this thing going to lock up?” “Is it going to burn out my rear brakes? We are on the first lap and I’ll be out of a rear brake for the whole race.” My first thought was to get it off there and be as careful as I could on the first lap, and I doubled the triple thinking that the people behind me would. And a lot of people didn’t. If you look at the footage, there are a lot of people jumping around me and Ryan (Morais) just happened to be one of those guys. The last thing I remember is going up the triple’s face and wanting to get out of there, and I pinned it pretty good trying to get out. That was a lot of the force, him going down and me going up really fast. And that was that. From there, it was a blur with the hospital and everything. It was an experience that I’ll never forget and one that will make me appreciate life even more.
You have had a lot of bad luck in the last couple of seasons. Does is it ever get discouraging for you?
Absolutely. If I wasn’t discouraged, I wouldn’t be human. I think people that have been through a string of injuries like this, it is very discouraging, but I can’t dwell on it. If I dwell on it, that is when things will get bad. I think the more resilience and more positive outlook that I have on it, the easier it will be and I will be able to overcome this. People say that I have bad luck, but I have good luck. I got landed on by a 225 pound motorcycle and I didn’t break my neck, I can feel both my legs, I can use both my legs. I damaged my spinal cord and injured my back in a way that could have ended in paralysis and five days later, I was walking. I am grateful for that. There are many other people who have had less worse crashes but ended in bad ways. I am just thankful for the fact that I can walk, move, and that I can come back at this thing. That is what I need to dwell on, not the amount of injuries or things that could have happened that didn’t. I just need to look ahead and at the possibilities in my career and go at it full speed.
That is an admirable approach and outlook that you are taking.
I am not going to say that I haven’t been discouraged, because there have been times that I have been down. But the biggest thing I can do is focus on what I can control and accept the things that I can’t.
With that being said, what have you been up to lately to keep yourself busy? You mentioned to me that you were back home and that you hadn’t been for a while.
I spent the first week in the hospital and for the first three weeks to a month, I was in a whole lot of pain and I couldn’t do much at all, I just had to sit there. I went to a few races and then I came back to Oklahoma and got to watch some guys ride, which has been cool. I have been helping Jimmy (Albertson) a little bit, watching (Justin) Bogle ride, went down to Florida with the Ferrys for a week and went to Daytona, and then came to the town that I grew up in this week. It is cool to see, because you get so busy some times and forget these things. It is cool to come back, see them, and reflect on it, because it is kind of a healing process, I guess.
Looking ahead, you said that you are about to start therapy soon. What is you game plan? Is coming back to racing a possibility this season or are you looking to 2013?
For me, it is all 2013. It is a scary thing, because I still can’t feel my thigh and when you have any kind of spinal cord injury, it is a nasty thing that you don’t want to mess with. And for me, I was out for two minutes with a concussion. There are things that need healing and to come back to race the outdoors would not be an intelligent move. Not only would I have six months off the bike from this injury, but I have more than a half a year off with the two femur fractures and the collarbone before this. There is a total of a year’s time that I have not been able to ride and I think that the logical thing to do is wait until I am at 100 percent before I start my riding and my training, which will give me a good four or five months to re-establish myself and build some confidence to move forward.