Trey Canard was competing in the Dodger Stadium Supercross race on Jan. 21, 2012, in Los Angeles when the rear of his bike slid out and snagged part of a banner from off the side of the track.
Canard slowed to get the banner off and another racer slammed into him. Canard's bike landed on him and he was unconscious when emergency personnel got to him.
He was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, and doctors said it would be a year before he even could think about rehab. But less than a year later, Canard has competed in four races, the first Jan. 5 in Anaheim, Calif., where he finished second.
“It is still scary,” Canard said. “The video (of the crash) is still out there. It puts a little fear in you for sure, but I heard the ‘John Wayne version' of it, where he got knocked off horse, being scared to death, but having to get back on it and getting at it again.”
For the 22-year-old Shawnee man, riding motocross bikes started when he was 3 years old. He became serious about racing when he was 13.
“It was something me and my family did almost every weekend,” Canard said. “I think, right from the get-go, I enjoyed riding a motorcycle and I was good at it, so that made it more fun.”
Doctors performed a three-level spinal fusion with a bone graft after the accident.
“The first step from the surgery was getting up, that was the first thing for me,” Canard said. “For a couple of months, I didn't do much of anything, because if you go too fast you may damage your spine.”
Doctors originally told Canard he needed a year to recover from the surgery, but after a few months, his recovery time dwindled to six months. When doctors gave Canard the go-ahead to start rehabbing and training, he went to Mercy's sports medicine and physical therapy director David Huslig.
“It's astonishing in regards to the level that he is racing,” Huslig said. “To see him handle the bike; because the bike is very, very heavy; for him to handle the turns and maneuver and handle all the forces and the directions and other motorbikes around him. And to be able to do that one year out from the initial injury it is quite the statement to show how special of an athlete Trey is.”