Trey Canard said he feels blessed just to be able to walk, but now one thing he would really like to do, almost one month after his season-ending crash at the Los Angeles Supercross, is go home. Because of swelling and the frail stability of his spine, doctors have recommended that the former AMA 250cc Motocross and Supercross Lites champion stay put in California.
He said he plans to return to his hometown of Shawnee, Okla., this weekend.
On Jan. 21, Canard suffered fractures to three vertebrae when he was landed on in the first lap of the main event at Dodger Stadium. Although Canard surprisingly walked, on his own, into to a media day at American Honda's headquarters just 10 days after the crash, he said his doctors have advised that he take six to eight months before riding a motorcycle again.
"I really messed up the tendons and ligaments around my spine," Canard said. "I remember being in the ambulance and wondering if I was ever going to race again because I just didn't know. I knew my back was injured and you just don't know what that means."
The fractures from having the rear tire of Ryan Morais' bike dig into his middle back were in the T10 to T12 vertebrae. After waiting over three full days, getting transferred from USC Community Hospital to USC Tech, doctors performed surgery Jan. 24. Two rods were inserted on either side of his spine. "They did a bone graft in my pelvis, screwed it all back together and sent me on my way," Canard said.
While Canard knows his 2012 season is finished, his career is not. "I've had a lot of people asking, 'Are you going to race? Will they let you race?' I'd even heard that I said I wasn't going to race anymore. I don't remember saying that but you say some pretty crazy things when you're on pain medication."
Canard understands the severity of his injury and, unlike past injuries, where he was immediately focused on getting back to racing, this time he sees baby steps; like getting strong enough to take out the trash or do laundry. He still has no feeling in his right ring and pinky fingers and a spot on his thigh. The doctors have told him it's from the swelling around the nerves and feeling should return soon.
This is the fourth and most severe injury the Muscle Milk Honda rider has received in a little more than nine months. The first was a broken femur in mid-April, just after he'd cemented his name as a fifth title contender for the AMA Supercross title with three main event victories. Canard re-injured the femur in August at the Washougal AMA Pro Motocross event and then suffered a broken collarbone while testing in early December. He missed one round of the 2012 season but a seventh place on his return kept many hopeful that the battle between Ryan Villopoto, Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey and James Stewart would also include Trey Canard.
"My focus every time I've been hurt has been to get back because that's what I live for. I feel like this is what I was put on this Earth to do. This time around I think I'm going to have to get good at some hobbies. Six to eight months is a long time and I might need something to pass the time."