Days before he was to make his Monster Energy/Knich Factory Yamaha debut at the Monster Energy Cup, Davi Millsaps crashed hard at the Yamaha test track. Not only was Yamaha left searching for a replacement—which they found in the now-surging Justin Barcia—but we also heard of significant concerns over Millsaps’ health and the future of his career. Yamaha’s official press releases only referred to an elbow injury that required surgery, but behind the scenes it was said that Millsaps had suffered a major concussion.
At Anaheim 1, Millsaps was on hand to explain his situation. He was knocked out for eight minutes that day. He’s waiting for his elbow to heal, but even when he can finally climb back on a bike, he doesn’t know how his head will react just a few months after suck a big knock out blow. Millsaps, though, doesn’t want it to end this way—he still wants to race, and he’s hoping he can get back out there.
Check out this interview with the man who electrified Anaheim 1 with his sensational win at the 2013 edition of the race.
If you don’t feel like watching the video, below is the full transcription.
Racer X: This guy actually looks like he’s good to go, good to ride, but you’re not yet? You’re not ready yet?
Davi Millsaps: No, not ready yet.
But there’s all these rumors. I heard you might not be ready, ever. You’re not even racing here, and I heard more stories about Davi Millsaps than any other rider except for maybe Roczen. Are you okay? Are you recovering? What’s the pattern here?
Yeah, recovering. Trying to get back to 100 percent the best that I can. It’s just taking a little longer than what was expected. It took a long time. I think it was five or six weeks after my crash that I was released to even have my elbow surgery. So, that put me behind. Then just dealing with letting my brain heal. I had a concussion.
You’re actually admitting you had a concussion? People don’t do this. I don’t know why.
Yeah. I was out for over eight minutes. I ended up really damaging… I had a lot of damage done that ended up within the first couple weeks it kind of subsided. It is getting better. I am on the right track of getting better. They were trying to tell me that what they saw I should be okay by the time I’m able to start riding for my elbow. That’s the plan. That’s kind of where we’re at right now. If that changes then, obviously, it changes. But as of right now, my plan is to come back. My plan is not to retire right now. Is retirement coming? Yes. Am I going to do it right here today, tomorrow, next weekend or the weekend after? No, that’s not my goal. If it comes to the point where it ends up having to be that way due to things just not working out, and for some reason my brain being okay now but when I get on a dirt bike it’s not, that’s a different story. Right now, I plan on trying to make a return.
So, the reason there’s all this mystery is because until you ride—you know what your intentions are, but you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen until you actually suit back up?
There is no telling. My brain could be good walking around, riding bicycles, doing workouts, doing all this stuff, and then get on a dirt bike, my reaction could be way off. Things could come at me really too fast for me to comprehend them. That’s not my plan. That’s not what the doctors are hoping for. That’s not what I’m hoping for, and for all means my family and everyone. It’s trying to make a push. 2018 was going to be my retirement year. One hundred percent it was going to be. I was planning on retiring after this year and [doing] something different. So, it kind of sucks for me that it has to start like this. I felt really amazing before I crashed. I felt really good. I felt back where I wanted to feel. It just happened so quick. I did end up losing a week of my memory. So, I don’t remember the whole time of me being in the hospital and stuff like that. But none of this ever got out. No one called me to do interviews, even though if they did, I don’t remember.
I did try at one point. I did try.
I do remember that one, because that was just not too long ago. You only waited three months. It’s all right.
There was so much mystery, I thought I was putting you in a bad spot to even ask.
No. I know it’s difficult to ask me about retirement, obviously, with my sponsors and stuff like that, but for me, that’s not in my plans right now to retire. My plan is to come back and race for Monster Energy Yamaha and be a part of the season for my last year.
I’ve heard the camaraderie over there at Yamaha has been pretty good. Are you still hanging out around Barcia and Webb and those guys?
I hung out with them one time for the photo shoot. I think it was before Christmas or something like that. But no, I have not. Just let them do their thing. I did a lot of development on the bike the time that I was there. I feel like I’ve helped quite a bit from the time I was there. I did a lot of testing. The day I crashed, which really pisses me off, is the best that I had gotten that bike. It was at the point there to where it needed maybe one or two more tweaks then we might have been set for the whole year. It was that good. That part is good for them, but sucks for me knowing that I did that and I can’t ride it. I definitely feel like there’s good vibe around the whole team. Everyone’s excited about the new bike. Everyone’s excited about Barcia and Webb and the new sponsor that got brought on. Everyone’s just kind of super excited for 2018. It’s a new year—why wouldn’t you be?
Maybe you’ll be part of it.
I’ll be a part of it regardless, but my plan is to return to racing. I would like to return as soon as I can. I still have a few weeks for my elbow to heal, and then hopefully that gives my brain enough time to be where it needs to be. I still have to get a release from my doctor, my neurologist, to even come back to race. If he won’t release me, then that’s a different story too. So, it’s just one of those things. Now everyone knows that I had a concussion.
Thanks for saying it.
I went to the hospital and there was an Asterisk guy actually there. So, it’s just one of those… I can’t hide the concussion. It’s one of those things, man.
Glad to see that at least you still want to.
Of course I want to. It’s racing dirt bikes. Who doesn’t want to race dirt bikes?
When you go through the roughs and the ups and downs, sometimes we get worried.
There’s ups and downs in every sport. There’s ups and downs in every part of your life. It’s just one of those things where you just keep chugging along, keep pushing forward and keep pushing forward and just hope for the best.
May not have seen the last of the #18 on the track. If not, still cool to hang out.
#18 in 2018. Why not?