It seems like these Ken Roczen injury updates come on a monthly basis. In our last post about the Team Honda HRC rider’s recovery from a compound fracture of the radius, a dislocated elbow and wrist, and related tissue damage, Roczen was playfully popping wheelies on a Honda CRF450R at The Nest in Flordia, but this latest news has him in full gear and a race bike. Posted to Christian Craig’s Instagram story (Craig, by the way, is subbing in for the defending 450 MX champion on the factory team this summer), it’s an indication of the progress made in six months time.
We spoke with Craig briefly on Thursday and he stated that Roczen rode three sessions but did not go for every jump on the track, as he is looking to take it easy in his return to action.
Team Honda HRC has posted an update on Instagram that includes a quote from Roczen. It states, “I was on a call last night with Dr. Viola about my CT scan that I got about a week ago and I got the green light from him to get back on the bike. He said to find some smooth track to start riding on, which is what I did today. I wasn't worried about anything except sitting on the bike, cruising around and taking it easy. I did hit a couple small jumps that I know have soft landing and just had a lot of fun. I'm so happy to be back on the bike and will be doing it a lot more in the near future.”
Roczen has repeatedly stated that his intentions are to return to the starting line for the 2018 Anaheim One SX. SHIFT MX, Roczen’s apparel sponsor, has a piece titled “Ride Again” in the works that will chronicle the entire process of the injury from start to finish.
For those not familiar with Roczen’s injury and recovery, here’s a recap…
During the 450 Main Event at the 2017 Anaheim Two SX, Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen suffered a terrifying crash in a technical rhythm lane. It appeared that Roczen mistimed the section and after leaving the take-off of one jump, ejected himself off of the bike and slammed into the ground. The impact left the winner of the year's first two races with a compound fracture of the radius and a dislocated elbow and wrist, as well as related tissue damage. The amount of time he will miss as a result is uncertain.
After being tended to by the Alpinestars Mobile Medical Crew, Roczen was taken to a hospital in Irvine for further evaluation and was then prepped for a flight to Colorado. Quoting a Team Honda HRC press release issued last week, “Roczen was flown to Vail, Colorado, to go under the care of Dr. Randall Viola at The Steadman Clinic. Dr. Viola is the team physician for the Men's U.S. Alpine Ski Team and a medical consultant to the Denver Broncos and U.S. Snowboard Team, and he specializes in hand, wrist and elbow injuries, with special interests in orthopedic and sports-related trauma.”
Since the initial surgery, Roczen has undergone eleven more procedures to insert and remove an external fixator device, along with a replacement of his elbow bone via a donor. To further expedite the recovery, he has a full therapy regimen that restores strength and mobility to his left arm.
"This obviously isn’t the way I was hoping the Supercross season would go, but I've accepted the challenge and am putting all of my effort into getting healthy again,” said Roczen in the Team Honda HRC press release. “I want to thank everyone at The Steadman Clinic, and specifically Dr. Viola and 'Team Viola' for all the care. It's great knowing I have the best people possible helping me through this. The support from my fans and the industry on social media has been incredible too. I especially want to thank my team at Honda, which has truly become like a family, and of course my other partners who have been behind me 100%. I look forward to getting back to racing as soon as possible."
Since arrival in Colorado on Sunday, January 22nd, Roczen’s arm has been set in external fixation, received a number of incisions to prevent swelling, and had debris removed from the wounds to lower the risk of infection. A final surgery is planned for later this week to close the remaining wounds and following that, Roczen will head to his home in Florida for further recovery. Roczen has remained at the hospital in Colorado for more than a week and he’s had welcomed visitors in close friends like Andrew Short, but a few overly aggressive fans have walked into the room unannounced, which prompted him to post a social media message asking fans to respect his privacy.
During our time at the 2017 Phoenix SX this past weekend, we asked Team Honda HRC team manager Dan Betley what will happen with the 94 bike and when Roczen is expected to ride again. Betley, who made the push for Roczen to ride red, stated that no fill-in rider will take the spot anytime soon and that the priority for the team is Roczen return to full health, no matter the length it will take. This plan for the long-term suits both the rider and team, as they are currently in the first term of a three-year contract.
There is a wide theory in the pit area that Roczen will miss the remainder of the 2017 season, which would include defending his 450 title in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, which Betley neither confirmed nor denied when asked. Considering the severity of the injury and the recovery that can be required for dislocations to the wrist and elbow, it would not be a surprise if Roczen’s return to racing occurred in 2018.
UPDATE: On Sunday, February 5th, Roczen made a long statement on his Instagram that fully revealed the injury and complications that came from the crash, including the compartment syndrome that occurred. For those that are not familiar with compartment syndrome, it is swelling that prevents blood flow from reaching the injured area of the body and could ultimately lead to permanent injury or even amputation. This was something that many feared when Roczen posted the photo of his arm sliced open a few weeks ago. With this news, Roczen has a long road of recovery ahead…
UPDATE APRIL 20TH: Ken Roczen has shared an update following his eleventh surgery since sustaining a compound fracture of the radius and a dislocated elbow and wrist, as well as related tissue damage at the 2017 Anaheim Two SX in January. The latest operation for the Team Honda HRC rider was on his elbow and required a bone from a donor and further clarifies the damage his body sustained in the crash.
Roczen posted on Instagram four weeks ago that it will be months before he is able to ride again, which confirms that he will not be able to defend his 450 class title from 2016 in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
UPDATE JUNE 20TH: It’s been just over five months since Ken Roczen suffered a compound fracture of the radius and a dislocated elbow and wrist and related tissue damage in his crash at the 2017 Anaheim Two SX, but he continues to make progress with the recovery. On June 20th, the Team Honda HRC rider posted a quick video clip to his Instagram that showed him riding wheelies on Christian Craig’s Team Honda HRC CRF450R (Craig has been hired to fill Roczen’s spot for the summer due to the injury), and this looks to be his first time back aboard a full-size motocross bike.
Dislocated wrist, dislocated elbow and compounded radius. The first 30h absolutely sucked as none of the pain killers worked and it was really swollen. Gonna need few surgeries to get all this dialed. I have gotten so many messages and was so pleased to read all of them. I didn’t message back as the circumstances right now are just a bit gnarly and it would probably take me a day to reply lol. Just know i saw them! Love all you! Gonna need a few days for further info.
Got lucky with a lot of things the last few days but i got the luckiest with the people that r loving me And supporting me. Starting off with my amazing woman. Not just in times like this but on the daily. Also close friends and especially family and friends from Germany. Most important thing in life is be healthy and have great people around you. Even tho I am not healthy right now I feel like I achieved the rest. From Gf to friends to family to my amazing team @honda_powersports_us it makes all this shitty time only half as bad cause I got positive thoughts to hold on to. Got about 4 surgeries to go or so. All gonna be good. Or as @oswi_cbad and I say. ” IT LL BUFF OUT” lol
It feels amazing to be spinning a bit. Not from the drugs but my legs. Closing all the cuts up and taking out some metal tomorrow for swelling and hopefully start preparing my arm piece by piece starting Friday. I can guarantee you that I will be doing everything to get that arm back close to perfect. Still have to wait to really know how long it is gonna take but I am young and strong. Nothing is impossible
You spend months preparing,training and lots of riding for racing and never even tip over really. Literally go without crashing for weeks and everything washes down the drain from just one little bitty mishap. To be honest, I dont see anything i did wrong. Not like the previous years where i go. “Man that was stupid” But riding/racing you have to act quick… very! And in the end you can’t pause the world and think about what you are going to do for a second. You will always go with your instinkt and there is nothing wrong with that. That’s part of learning and getting better. But like I said, I would love to look at the crash and say, ohhh that’s what happened..! But I can’t. Not sure if that makes it easier or harder. Anyway I felt more gathered and collected and focused than ever as you could tell in my riding ( in my eyes) and then something this scary happens so quick. I got VERY lucky that I really just demolished my arm because at that speed and height it could have been very ugly. It was still scary coming out of the first surgery and Doc Viola said if it wouldn’t have been done now I could have lost my arm. I started having compartment syndrome. Wich means my muscles and everything were so swollen from the impact that they stopped getting blood flow and slowly stop working. And once the muscle is dead there is no bringing it back. Anyway. Tough pill to swollen, but hey. Could have been worse. Felt like telling the story. It. But it’s good to hear that thing are gonna be fine. Just gotta be patient.
Looks good. Getting my final surgery this coming Friday to get my arm completely fixed. So looking forward to it so we can make progress and move forward! I miss repping all my people at the races @honda_powersports_us @redbull @motoxlab @stancesocks Miss putting a smile on my fans face. Love Y’all. ❤
9th surgery yesterday and the pain is insane. They took a bone graft from my tib to repair my scaphoid. Going home tomorrow hopefully. Getting the ex fix out in couple weeks and might need another surgery on top of that. Injury was a lot worse than we thought. Not always fun when you wake up and u don’t get the news you want to hear.