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Privateer Profile: Jake Marsack

By Gabi Kneip

Racer X contributor Gabi Kneip speaks with Michigan privateer Jake Marsack, who was recently injured at a supercross in Germany.

  • Jake Marsack in Chemnitz
Racer X: Hi Jake! Finally you are back in the U.S. What happened at the supercross in Chemnitz?
Jake Marsack: It was the first day of the event and the track was unbelievable tight and I wanted to qualify for the main. The crash happened through an easy double-triple-double section. I was going for a pass and doubled the first one low and ended up lining up in a deep rut for the triple. As I hit the face of the jump I hit a sink hole and it sent me endo-style through the air. I knew I wasn't going to bring it back so I jumped off and actually landed on my feet into the face of the third jump. On impact I had so much forward momentum that I flew forward into the next take off on my head, which stopped me instantly. I guess I broke my fall with my head.

First they said it might be a broken sternum, but it was even worse. What exactly is injured and how long will you be off the bike?
I ended up fracturing the C7 vertebra in my neck again, with a massive whip lash to the muscles. Well, so far the doctor says that it will be about an eight-week recovery to get the neck brace off and some more time after that to get everything stretched and worked out strong.

You had a pretty similar injury before; was it the same again?
No, I didn't break it in the same spot as last time but with every fracture it makes it easier to break. I don’t know how much longer this sport will be worth this risk.

I heard that the hospital in East Germany was horrible.
Getting hurt in East Germany is not the place to get hurt I found out. Obviously they have been in a recession because it was hell! It looked like a World War II bomb shelter to start off. There was blood all over the walls when you walk in with the worst doctors I later came to find out. My team (Honda Meyer) who helped me make out what the doctor was saying in German, got in a big verbal fight. The doctor was suggesting to do surgery at sight of first cat scan. Finally I made a decision to make a fourteen-hour trip home with a neck that hurt beyond belief. I just knew this was not the right place for good care or surgery, since there was puke on the wall next to me for the two and a half days I was there for. Later I found out that the place didn't have any internet or way of taking credit cards. I guess people check in and don't check out. Lucky I had my cash from my previous race in Stuttgart and AMA insurance and got out of there as quickly as possible.

OMG, that sounds terrible. So you flew back with your other teammates?
Yes, and once I got out this hospital I felt ten times better, and with a few pain meds I made the trip home after an astronomical fee to change my flight. At my lay over my girlfriend met up with me and pushed me in my wheel chair to my next flight home to Detroit. Once I got home and went to a real doctor, we found out that there is no reason for surgery.

So hopefully you will be out there riding soon again.
For now I'm glad to be out of that hospital and back home. I just gotta figure out what the future holds for me now...
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