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WINTER X GAMES Deegan returns from bad injury



Published: Mon, January 31, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A year ago, the Moto X rider broke both wrists and a leg in a horrific accident.

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) -- It's been a year since Brian Deegan lost control of his motorcycle and fell 40 feet to the ice, and he still can't go anywhere without someone wanting to know about it.

It's hard to blame them for asking. The spill, which broke both Deegan's wrists and his leg, was horrific even in the thrills-and-spills world of the Winter X Games.

But while everyone else seems stuck on the crash, Deegan was past it long ago. The way he sees it, he had no other choice.

"I don't let it get to me. I'm over it," Deegan said. "It's just part of the game. I think if people let it get to them, that's not a good way to come back."

Deegan may seem nonchalant about coming back from a bad injury, but that's just part of the game of jumping dirt bikes.

Flipping a 250-pound motorcycle over a 90-foot gap on ice is going to lead to injuries, there's just no way of getting around it. The key is how the riders let the injuries affect them.

Proper attitude

Deegan seems to have the right attitude.

Back at the Winter X Games Saturday for the Moto X preliminaries, he didn't hold anything back, flipping through the air to grab the lead heading into Sunday night's finals.

"I could cruise through it, do a few flips and play it safe, but that's not how we compete," Deegan said. "We're always in the running for the win because you never know what's going to happen or what kind of trick somebody's going to pull out."

It was that kind of thinking that got Deegan in trouble at last year's Winter X.

Moto X riders are always searching for the next big thing and Deegan thought he had found it with a trick that included a full flip with a full twist.

He was the first rider to pull off the jump at the Summer X Games, but didn't come close when he moved to ice. Unable to control his spin about halfway through the trick, Deegan knew he was in trouble and let go of the bike so it wouldn't fall on top of him.

He accomplished that part of it, but the problem was that he was still about 40 feet in the air above ice that was hard as concrete. Deegan angled his body so hands and feet would take the impact, landing with a thud a few feet from his bike.

Deegan curled up in a ball screaming in pain after impact and it took medical personnel more than 15 minutes to stabilize him enough to move him to an ambulance.

'Pretty gross'

"It was pretty gross. He landed pretty hard on solid ice," snowmobile race Blair Morgan said. "I kind of know him a little and it's tough to see someone get hurt that bad. But I think there are no little crashes in motocross. You either do your trick or you're going to hurt yourself bad."

Deegan certainly had it bad. He had pins put in both wrists and a plate was used to stabilize his broken femur. And that wasn't even the worst of it. During surgery on his leg, Deegan lost a lot of blood and needed a transfusion.

"I almost died," he said. "It was bad, but it could have been worse. I thank God it wasn't worse. I know it could have been real tragic."

It didn't take him long to get over it.

Deegan spent a week in an Aspen hospital, where he saw ESPN show replays of the crash "at least 10 times a day," then went home to Temeculah, Calif., for rehabilitation. Within three months he was back on a motorcycle doing backflips.

"Like any other injury, it's part of the game of riding dirt bikes," Deegan said. "You just set your goals and come back. That's what I did."




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