Between the Motos: Mika Musquin

Between the Motos Mika Musquin

October 14, 2015 10:45am

By: Stephan Legrand / LeBigUSA.com

Our friend Stephan Legrand of LeBigUSA.com recently caught up with Marvin Musquin's brother, Mika, who was seriously injured at the Supercross de Chaumont. It's a story you'll want to read to the finish.

Three weeks after his serious accident at the Supercross de Chaumont (Chaumont Supercross), we met with Mika Musquin at the CHU de Bordeaux (Bordeaux University Teaching Hospital) to see how he was doing. Marvin's brother gave us a moving and hopeful interview.

Racer X: Where are we today?
Mika Musquin: We're at the CHU de Bordeaux Pellegrin rehabilitation center because I’m paralyzed from the shoulders down. I no longer have any sensation in my body. I am waiting to be transferred to la Tour de la Gassies, which is a re-education center. I will be there from Monday, and I'll likely stay there for six months to one year. When I arrived here on August 31, I was intubated. I couldn't breathe on my own. For a while the doctors wanted to perform a tracheotomy on me, but I fought hard and was able to avoid it. They were surprised I managed to do that. That was already a wonderful victory. Currently my lungs are a little weak, but I can breathe normally.

Mika and his brother Marvin.
Mika and his brother Marvin. photo: Benjamin Ricard

Do you remember the accident clearly?
There are SX tour pro riders who refuse to ride in Germany, as they find it too dangerous. The obstacle where I had my accident was more dangerous than any others I know. In previous years, the whoops were so straight that we could approach them without having to speed up. The course was technical but not at all dangerous. This year, they lowered the whoops and we approached them at much higher speeds. During the American finals, I found myself between [Cédric] Soubeyras and [Nicolas] Aubin. I did a great transition, but I was to the left of three little whoops that were a lot less straight that those to my right. I wasn't able to do the "roll and jump" maneuver. I dribbled and my front wheel went flying. I tried to hit the gas to switch to Mad Skill, but it didn't work. I hit my head first. After that I couldn't feel my body even though I was fully conscious. I saw Cédric, who had stopped next to me. I told him what had happened. I called Nicolas Aubin and asked him to remove the foam from my 6D because he rides with one and he knows the system well. The helmet came off very easily. I tried to remain as calm as possible.

When you're a moto rider you know that this kind of thing can happen at any time. I couldn't feel anything. I told myself, "That's it. It's time; it's your time." Every little movement was very important. I sincerely believe that my 6D helmet saved my life. We can have a debate about the effectiveness of the Leatt brace that I was wearing, but all that I can say is that my C1 vertebra is cracked. Would it have been worse or better without the Leatt brace? It's hard to say. I have been wearing a Leatt brace since 2008, and like the 6D helmet, I owe them my gratitude because, despite what happened to me, it's partly thanks to these protective items that I’m here today.

"It's at times like these that we realize that at the end of the day, none of that actually matters. If we are able to touch people by what we do and who we are in life, that's the best thing that could ever happen to us."

What were your first few hours in the hospital like?
Not very good because I had a lot of trouble breathing. I felt myself slipping away. I was scared. I was terrified by what was happening to me. The morphine made me delirious, and I said my goodbyes to my loved ones. It wasn't an easy time. Once the doctors had removed the tube from my throat, I became aware of the hype that my situation had generated all around the world. Maria Pohlmann, a German journalist, brought in MotoGP riders on my behalf. Dani Pedrosa regularly sent messages to Marvin to see how I was doing. Davi Millsaps and Cooper Webb also asked about me, not to mention all the fans in France who sent me notes and drawings, etc. When we're not out there riding we try to be kind to everyone, and just like on your site, there will always be a group of people who break our morale by being mean to us. It's at times like these that we realize that at the end of the day, none of that actually matters. If we are able to touch people by what we do and who we are in life, that's the best thing that could ever happen to us.

"I love moto and I would like to see those in my circle continue to do it. Personally, I just made one little error too many." photo: Benjamin Ricard

Where do you stand in terms of your morale?
If my accident had happened five years ago, I would have reacted very badly. Today I'm ready. I'm at peace with whatever may happen to me. It does hurt me to see my parents sad, to see my brother cry, etc. That makes me sad. Aside from that, I feel good. I'm not suffering. After my most recent knee injury, I suffered for three weeks. I'm not suffering now. It's going to take time. I know that motocross is over, but I feel strong. I have the mind-set of the guy who got the holeshot and who fears nothing.

How do you see the aftermath of the accident?
I have no regrets. I love moto and I would like to see those in my circle continue to do it. Personally, I just made one little error too many. FDR made me a great bike with the best quality suspensions. I knew that these three little whoops on the left were dangerous, but that's how it goes. I have no remorse. I think about so many things for my future. I love reading books. I would like to take economics classes. I want to study psychology because I'm passionate about it. There are so many possibilities that could open up to me. This doesn't frighten me. It's a new experience. I'm not dead. I'm starting a new life. I love discovering new things. I've been through a lot in that respect [laughs]. I feel fine.

"I know that motocross is over, but I feel strong. I have the mind-set of the guy who got the holeshot and who fears nothing."

Do you dread the tough times ahead, because there are bound to be some?
I think I'm smart enough to overcome tough times. I've already experienced difficult phases in my life—the death of friends, for instance. I had these moments where the penny dropped and I vowed to live my life to the fullest without worrying about the future. I know people who are like me today, but who didn't get to make the most of the present moment aside from preparing for retirement, buying a house, etc. They lived in the shadows, keeping their heads to the ground, and everything crumbled after the accident. I had the opposite experience; I did everything I wanted to do. I could have cut that evening, allowed myself to double back, veered to the right of the whoops, and voilà. We always have choices in life, and we have to face the consequences of the choices we make.

"I don't know where I'm going, but I'm going all the way." photo: Benjamin Ricard

What would you like to say to the people who support you?
I''d like to tell them that I am deeply moved by their support. I haven't replied to all the messages that I've received yet because I can't exactly hold the telephone in my hand [laughs], but I will respond as soon as I am able. With the help of Antoine Charrault, the brother of Mathilde, my brother's wife, I was able to move an arm and a small muscle. These are small wins, but they mean a lot. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm going all the way. I look forward to being at the Tour de la Gassies. I know that I will have to work for a long time. It's exciting. It will be a good environment for me with the best conditions. In the meantime, I would like to extend my deepest, most sincere gratitude to everyone, even though I think that a big "thank you" does not really adequately express what I feel. Thank you to everyone.

Interviewed by Stéphan Legrand (at the CHU de Bordeaux).
Interviewed by Stéphan Legrand (at the CHU de Bordeaux).

Racer X: Why a selfie to illustrate this article?
Legrand: Mika didn't want a traditional, sad photo in a hospital room on a rehabilitation bed. The only photo that he wanted to take was a fun, slightly crazy selfie, without taking himself too seriously, with his friend Cédric, who was also at the hospital. After taking out his neck brace once again, so he could "still be handsome," we only had a single take, one "shot" with an iPhone. All three of us had a look at it and laughingly said to each other, "That’s the one."

A GoFundMe account has been setup for Mika. You can donate here.