Jake Brown knocked out in fall
Australian skateboarder Jake Brown was knocked unconscious during practice Friday at X Games Munich and will not be allowed to compete in Saturday's Skateboard Big Air final, according to a statement from X Games Medical staff.
Brown told XGames.com he's trying to appeal that decision.
"I ended up getting knocked out," he said. "I woke up and it took me a few minutes to get my bearings, but I'm better now and I want to ride tomorrow."
Brown, a two-time Big Air gold medalist, fell while attempting a 360 ollie over the 64-foot gap on the ramp, hitting his head and sliding, unconscious, to the flat bottom. He also sustained friction burns on his chin and right hand in the slide, and was treated by X Games Medical.
"Jake Brown sustained a head injury during practice," according to an X Games Medical statement. "His symptoms stabilized while being evaluated. Brown refused a CT scan and was taken to the medical area to rest under observation. He will not be allowed to ride in tomorrow's competition."
Brown, no stranger to injury, says he's been knocked unconscious several other times while riding the MegaRamp and contends he should be cleared to compete.
"If they let me ride I'll go get whatever scan they want, but other than that what's the point?" he said.
Event organizers elaborated on their head injury policy in a statement released later Friday.
"We have great appreciation for the competitive passion our athletes have," the release said. "However, we also have our athletes safety and health in mind as our top priority. X Games is following medical guidelines for concussion management that are based off the positions of both the American Academy of Neurology and the National Athletic Trainers Association both stating any athlete known to have sustained a loss of consciousness should not be cleared for further participation and remain symptom free for at least 7 days before being allowed to return to competition."
Arguing that he should be allowed to compete, Brown pointed to Danny Way's crash during finals at X Games Los Angeles 2008. Way was briefly knocked unconscious in that fall but brushed off X Games Medical staff to head back to the top of the ramp, going on to win a silver medal.
"It's just skateboarding," Brown said. "This is what we do, you know? We fall all the time. That's why I'm pissed that they want to not let me ride tomorrow, because I came all the way to Germany to ride my skateboard and it should be my choice whether I want to ride or not."
Brown said the 360 ollie he was attempting was a warmup for the same 720 ollie he landed on his way to a bronze medal at X Games Foz do Iguaçu in May, where he became the first skater ever to land a no-grab 720 ollie.
Brown was also the first to land a 720 with a grab over the MegaRamp gap in 2007, just before the now-infamous crash that send him plummeting 47 feet to flat after getting ejected from the ramp's 27-foot quarter pipe. He was unconscious for nearly 60 seconds in the 2007 crash, breaking his wrist and several vertebrae and sustaining contusions to his lung and liver, but he still managed to win silver that year based on scores from his previous runs. He came back to win bronze in 2008 and gold in 2009 and 2010, and was a favorite coming into Munich.
"I know there's risks with concussions and I can't hate on X Games," Brown said. "I'm sure there's liability and stuff, but ultimately they should take the athletes into consideration and whether they want to ride or not. Obviously I'm sore right now, but it's nothing some stretches and a good night's rest and some ice isn't going to fix."