One thing that I’ve really developed an appreciation for this year is how much positive attention and praise the X-Games has been gradually getting since its origination in 1995. The dynamics of alternative sporting events have changed. BMX and skateboarding, sports not once considered “sports,” are becoming much more acceptable fixtures. I’ve witnessed this progression firsthand and remember attending my very first X-Games, X Games V, way back in the summer of 1999, when I was just 10 years old.
Anyone that follows the X-Games knows that injuries are part of the sport. On Thursday, July 28, Travis Pastrana suffered a broken ankle and foot during the Moto X Best Trick event at the X-Games. Although a difficult situation, Travis has remained strong, having dealt with injuries before, saying “I am sorry this happened and will be back in action as soon as I can. I look forward to Pastranathon 2012 at X Games 18.” Despite such a devastating setback, fans know he’ll be back because of his passion for the sport. As someone who witnessed Pastrana win his very first Moto X Freestyle (after also suffering from a spinal injury, a year before in 1998), you can bet I will be cheering him on.
On the same day, another X-Gamer went down with an injury. BMX rider, Chad Kagy, fell and broke his right femur during the X-Games Big Air event, which immediately required surgery. For those that don’t know Kagy, he’s quite the decorated rider. Some of his accomplishments include:
- 2001: UGP Roots Jam
- 2002: 3rd Place at X-Games, Street
- 2003: 1st Place at Latin American X-Games, Vert
- 2004: 4th Place at X-Games, Bike Vert
- 2005: Silver Medal at X-Games, Vert
- 2006: Gold Medal at X Games, BMX Vert
- 2007: Gold Medal at Asian X Games, Bike Vert
- 2008: Gold Medal at X-Games, Big Air
- 2009: Silver Medal at X-Games, Big Air
- 2010: Gold Medal at X-Games, Big Air
While his accomplishments on the bike are amazing, what I appreciate even more has been Kagy’s constant interaction with his fans, especially on Twitter (and Facebook), following his injury. Despite the physical pains, he’s kept his fans up-to-date on his recovery process.
On his Twitter, posted from July 29, (soon after the injury) Kagy reported, “Hey guys. Thanks for all the awesome love and support. I broke my femur in half and am having surgery tonight to have a rod put in. I’m in good hands!” It’s evident from such a statement that Kagy’s spirits have not been dampened, instead he’s focusing on how much heartfelt support he’s getting from his fans. He also posted, “Thanks everyone for sending me the kind words & positive vibes. I’ll heal up soon & be back to riding soon.”
With such a decorated career and his recent statements, it’s obvious that Kagy is determined to return–and will. Although some say that injuries in such extreme sports are to be expected because of “daredevil” antics, it’s important to note that these individuals are still athletes of the highest calibre in their sport. Injuries might occur, but through their preventive injury training, these athletes are able to return much more quickly than most individuals.
In an interview with Fat BMX online, after returning from a broken neck, Kagy discussed his methods of doing tricks while also being cautious of injuries, saying “I would learn how to do the trick but I now figure out how to get out of the trick, if it goes wrong at different points of the trick. Basically I prepare how to best crash without getting hurt, the time off my bike also let me think about a lot of things I wanted to learn. I had a lot of time on my hands.”
During that extended break, Kagy not only learned new tricks, but also displayed his selfless attitude towards fans through his humanitarian efforts. An organization Kagy has been particularly involved with is Bikes Over Baghdad. Bikes Over Baghdad allows top professional BMX athletes, like Chad Kagy, to travel to the Middle East and meet, as well as entertain, American troops through BMX shows.
In an interview with Complex Magazine, Kagy discussed his involvement with such a great organization. “The idea for Bikes Over Baghdad is done in a unique way that’s different from sending a band or comedian over there when someone jumps on stage, performs, or takes it to the next step. We build ramps during the day with the help of a couple of the soldiers while the builders are doing that, the rest of the crew is doing tours around the base, stopping by different posts to do meet-and-greets, hand out autographed posters, and invite them out to the show. Instead of just showing up, performing, and disappearing, we actually get some one-on-one time with the soldiers. If you think about it, the age bracket of a majority of the soldiers is 18 to 25, which is the younger crew of adrenaline junkies, and what we’re doing fits that whole profile of what they want to watch or be part of. For the men and women that don’t get to go home for Christmas and spent time with their families, we go over there and take their minds off of things a little bit. Maybe give some of the guys a bike or a skateboard that they can give to their kid for Christmas. It’s really an eye-opening experience.”
Kagy is a testament to resilience and determination, like many X-Game athletes. However, his genuine relationship with his fans and his service to our American troops, makes him stand out in the crowd. What an amazing way to give back to the community; entertaining our troops, as well as spreading some holiday cheer. We at The Good In Sports commend him with a Gold Star in Sports and look forward to his return. Get well soon, Chad!
© 2011 The Good In Sports, Inc.