Maxxis/KLIM/DirtWise KTM Race team Pro rider, and current GNCC XC2 Pro class Championship leader, Rory Mead sustained a devastating crash approximately half way through the final lap of Sunday's Rd. 3 of the GNCC series held near Morganton, NC.
While placed in 2nd place, and making a charge toward the lead position, Mead inadvertently ran off the trail and struck a tree straight on at significant speed. The resulting impact produced severe fractures with the C5 and C6 vertebrae in his neck.
Mead was transported to the Johnson City Medical Center trauma hospital that evening and operated on to stabilize the fractures and fuse the vertebrae from C4 through C7, and is still currently situated there. Pieces of the shattered bones were pushing into the spinal cord area (removed during surgery) but apparently all indications from the MRI tests is that the cord was not severed and there was no bleeding in the cord. There is a significant amount of swelling to the cord area though.
Currently though Rory has no feeling or movement from essentially the arm pit/nipple region and down as expected with a C5/6 injury. He has limited use of his arms, but no awareness of his three outside fingers, again as commonly found with this injury.
Mead was quite philosophical about his current situation. "No one ever likes to get hurt, but it is a fact that we need to face every now and then. As they say, it is what it is, but you can be assured that I am ready fight with all my might and do whatever is necessary to give myself the possibility of a full and quick recovery. I am so thankful for the outpouring of support that my family, friends, and the Offroad motorcycle community had provided to me since the accident - it has been overwhelming! I want to thank my team mate Jason Thomas, and fellow competitor Jesse Robinson, who sacrificed their own race result to stop and stay with me for the duration, plus to all of the other riders who stopped during the race to offer assistance."
Maxxis/KLIM/DirtWise Race team owner Shane Watts had this to say, "Rory was riding so well in this race, and in the previous races so far in 2014 - he definitely had established himself as the rider to beat for this year's Championship! But then when your rider doesn't come around to the finish when expected, and news starts to filter through of a serious injury, your stomach just drops. The GNCC track crew did a wonderful is clearing Rory from the race track and taking the necessary measures on getting him to hospital. Rory has been in good spirits, and then 48 hours ago (36 hours post injury) he was able to slightly feel induced movement of his right foot only. Obviously this is what we would like to hope is a very promising indicator of further future improvement however unfortunately we also know that no further improvement may happen. Our goal is to provide Rory with all of the top level options and tools to maximize his recovery to 100%, and to hope for a complete recovery as soon as possible. This just may end up being a very long and arduous journey for Rory with his recovery and we will support him through it every step of the way to the best of our ability."
Mead should be adequately stabilized within the next two/three days to allow for transport to a spinal rehab facility, which most likely will be the acclaimed Dodd Hall facility operated by the Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus, OH.
To help offset the extensive medical expenses incurred with a serious spinal cord injury the following fundraising efforts are in place to help Rory Mead during this difficult time.
Firstly there is a direct donation option set up by Rory's Ohio based riding partner, Pro Supercross racer Levi Kilbarger, through the GoFundMe organization. There has been an overwhelming level of support shown so far as the total donation amount to date nears $20,000
The link to the Rory Mead donation account is: http://www.gofundme.com/7y8o0g
Next Monday, April 7, the DirtWise team, along with help from their team sponsors and Pro rider Steward Baylor, will announce and commence a Fundraising Raffle where a huge amount of awesome items will be on offer for the lucky winners. This raffle will run online throughout the week and will then culminate that weekend with a ticket sales booth at Rider Registration at the GNCC in South Carolina. The winners will be drawn immediately following the Bike Pro race on Sunday afternoon.