Sixteen-year-old amateur motocross racer Jantz Grodzicki sustained traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries in a crash on Friday during competition in the 250 B Mod Motocross class at the 41st Annual Thor Winter Olympics (also known as the Mini O's), an amateur Supercross and Motocross event at Gatorback Cycle Park in Alachua, Florida. Grodzicki was airlifted from the track and put on life support; his condition was upgraded on Saturday morning.
"I wanted to first thank everyone for the heartfelt prayers for Jantz," wrote his father, Chris Grodzicki, in a statement issued early Saturday morning; a friend of the family is providing updates at Facebook.com/PrayForJantz. "I need to ask everyone the favor of including Jantz in your prayers as we move through this painful journey. Jantz sustained a devastating brain cell and spinal cord injury."
Grodzicki was wearing a brace and helmet when he crashed, according to his father's statement.
"His heart stopped at the track and he was pronounced brain dead at the hospital with no response," according to Chris Grodzicki's statement. "He was however put on life support until we decided on the options available that I hope none of you ever have to face. A short while ago we received a call from the doctor that a miracle took place this morning at 6:30 a.m. that Jantz's 'condition has changed significantly.' He is responding to eye commands, left to right, up and down and raise your eyebrows. Still no other responses other than this. Given what we were told this is truly a miracle. The thoughts and prayers shared here and on Facebook are what have helped him to make a move off the line. The race for recovery is just beginning and we can only pray that God will pull him through. May God bless each of you and your families."
Grodzicki's been competing since he was seven years old, when he finished second at the 2004 San Diego Supercross-KTM Challenge. His current sponsors include BTOsports.com, Naveen Honda Racing, Fly Racing, Hinson Clutch Components, Maxima Racing Oils, Team ECC Racing (Escondido Cycle Center), FMF Racing, Premier Moto, EVS Sports, One Industries, and 51 Fifty Energy Drink, according to the sponsor page on his website.
He qualified for finals in all three Supercross classes -- Schoolboy, 250B Stock, and Mod -- at this week's Mini O's, but had several crashes in mains before the Thanksgiving holiday, when Motocross competition began.
"Finished 15th in 250 B stock today and got some great experience," Grodzicki (@Grodzicki96) wrote, in his most recent tweet, dated Wednesday November 21. "Both 250 B mod and schoolboy consisted of some bad luck. Fell in first turn and came from last to 23rd in schoolboy, and was running 10th in 250 B mod and had a crash in mid flight on a double. Got up and started charging but crashed again with another rider on the last lap and put me to 23rd. Overall great day and looking forward to Outdoors!"
Grodzicki reportedly crashed again on Friday during Motocross racing, on an uphill triple known as the "Gatorback," entangling his legs in his handlebars after attempting to bail out from his bike.