Remy Morton had a horrific crash
during Loosefest at the end of July last year. We caught up with the 19-year-old to check in on his recovery.
Take us back to July, when you say you were having the “Best Day Ever.” What happened?
First of all, I’d like to say a huge thanks to all of the guys involved with running the Fest series. In my opinion, the Fest events are one of the major contributors to pushing the limits of bike riding and what happened to me was just an accident, an unfortunate occurrence. So I hope no one takes this story the wrong way. A huge thank you to Nico Vink for allowing me to have the best few days of riding that I've ever had on a bike. I can't wait to ride with you guys again sometime soon!
It all started when I was riding Chatel Bike Park one day. I met up with Nico Vink and we did a few runs together. At this stage, we didn't really know each other very well, but it was good enough to have the most fun ever riding his new track in the bike park. At lunch, after riding all morning, he asked me if I'd be interested in riding Loosefest... I didn't really know what to say and so I said I'd get back to him! I knew I was keen but wasn't sure if I had the balls to do it. After a few days, I realised I'd be stupid not to as it's something I figured not many get the opportunity to do! Two weeks later I found myself at the jumps, mind blown! I remember the whole week and everything we rode and did up until going off of the lip of the jump I crashed on... I've never ridden anything even close to that much fun and cannot wait to get back and do it again!
Do you remember the moments before and after the crash at all?
I remember the whole day of my crash and even going off the lip where I remember yelling to myself "This is sickkkkkk!!!" I was loving it! And then I woke up about a month later...
What were your first thoughts when you woke up from your three-week coma?
When I woke up I didn't really know I had woke up. For anyone who has been in a coma before they will probably know what I mean by this. I don't actually feel like I was ever asleep. As I was asleep though, I guess I just had the biggest dream ever but even though I was asleep I could still hear and feel things. So when people were visiting me in the hospital I could hear their voices, them touching me etc., which then related to the dreams I was having where I was hanging out with different people.
In my dream, I had broken my arm and continued my trip as it was meant to be. I went to MSA World Cup and spectated, then followed that by going to Crankworx Whistler where I sat out for the first few weeks until I was able to ride again. I then stayed in Whistler for a few months before I went home. When I got home I went for a check-up at the hospital in Brisbane, I woke up in Brisbane hospital with my parents standing around me and thinking everything was normal... The first time I looked at a clock or date was the 23rd of August which marked 1 month and 2 days since my crash, seeing as I crashed in the 21st of July I was mind blown that I had been asleep for 2 full days... and then I realised it was August, not July...
That's when all of the above clicked to me and I realised I wasn't actually in Brisbane and I was still in Europe. Seeing as I was on a lot of drugs, medicine, and still had like 10 tubes and wires hanging all over my body, I got pretty upset and worried as I didn't even know what had happened or where I was...
Who was with you in those first days and weeks when you woke up from your coma?
I woke up with my parents next to me which was the best feeling in the whole world. Some of the moments in my dream where they must have been working on my body or doing surgery work came across in my dream as people trying to murder me or rape me, and it was like the worst nightmares you could ever imagine as I could still hear some things and feel people touching me. So for me, it's like a full memory and not just like a dream. Seeing them and knowing I was alive and safe was the most amazing feeling I've ever had and I think I pretty much just started crying because, from what I knew, I'd just survived someone trying to murder me and they had saved me.
It kinda makes me laugh now thinking about it but at the time it was hectic!
How long were you in the hospital for in total?
I was in hospital for seven weeks in total, but I wasn't allowed to fly until eight weeks in because of my lung damage as the different air pressures travelling on planes could mess with it. The week I got out of hospital I returned back to the sight of Loosefest where I stayed with the owners of the property that the event is held at "Bike Park Ferme Libert." I can't thank the Thomas family enough for everything they did for both my family and myself. It means a lot guys!
You say in the video that your goal was to be riding six months after this horrific crash, and yet you had to relearn how to eat, walk, and talk. Why did you think such a quick turnaround would be possible?
I guess at the time I didn't really realise how messed up my body was, and even now I don't think reality has really hit me with how lucky I am to still be alive. But I guess I just wanted to ride, I don't do much besides ride. Everyone always has their sport and their hobbies, my go-to sport is riding, and my hobby is building jumps to ride. My whole life revolves around riding bikes so I didn't really give myself many options, I just got straight into rehab and fixing my body as soon as I was able to semi-function again.
When were you first able to get back on a bike and what was that first bike ride back like?
This whole time since crashing I set myself little goals. When I was in the hospital, I told myself I would ride a bike the first week of being back home. On the fourth day back, I went to the beach and pedaled my bike along the cycle path. Even though I only lasted about 100 meters before I was completely destroyed, it was probably the best feeling I have ever had. A month later, I went out to our local bike park "Boomerang Farm Bike Park" to watch some friends ride. I thought I'd better take my bike so that I can roll down the mountain after filming them. An hour later I found myself sitting on the back of a shuttle truck with a bunch of smelly dudes doing runs of the jump track haha! I never thought three months in that I would be riding jumps again. Even though I was a full passenger as my right arm was still basically paralyzed, I shocked myself as well as a lot of others. That was when I realised that being back on the bike riding reasonably normal in 6 months time was an achievable goal.
It can be hard to come back from any injury, even injuries that are way less serious than yours. Do you have any pointers for people who are working on overcoming an injury right now or who may have to in the future?
I wish no injuries would ever happen to anyone, but it's just one of the risks of riding and having fun. The most important thing I found was surrounding myself with riders and friends who do what I do. I was at the skatepark most nights sitting in a camp chair watching my mates ride or skate, at the jumps watching my mates dig jumps. Watching my dad shape surfboards in his shed... Whatever it was, even if I wasn't able to do the fun stuff I was still there and in the environment that I like to be in and around. Obviously, opinions and thoughts change on the significance of the injury but in my opinion, pain is usually temporary. I always knew I'd be ok even though there was a big chance I was never going to get my right arm back from its nerve damage, I just kept telling myself everything will be all good and did everything I could to boost the chances of it coming back so at least I knew I had given it my best shot. During an injury, it feels like healing is taking forever and six months of doing not much feels like it's a massive amount of time, but realistically if you take into consideration you live 80-100 years of age, six months is nothing! And when everything is healed it'll just be normal life again, have fun, smile, remember what's important and you'll realise how fortunate you are to just be alive!
What does it mean to you that the GoFundMe your friends set up raised over $20,000?
I had no idea that my friends had set up that page until about two weeks after waking up. It blew my mind. I never thought that so many people would care about me so much, let alone give me money to be able to afford to fix my body so I could see them again. It meant the world to me and it still does. To everyone who donated their money, I hope that one day I can repay you in some way. Whether you donated money or even just sent me "get well" messages, it all means so much and there is no way I would have been able to afford the treatments I did without that help. Much love to you all!!
What are your plans for this season?
My main goal and plan for this season is to get my body back to 100%. Even though I'm riding again my body is nowhere near where it was at this time last year. Time will tell what I am able to do and what events I'll be able to attend. At this stage though I plan to enter all of the Crankworx rounds, maybe a few World Cups, and whatever other events and opportunities pop up in between.
As I said above though. Time will tell!
Anything else you’d like to add?
I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone for everything. My sponsors, friends and most importantly my family - the continued support you've all given me means a lot and I can't wait to see everyone again soon!
Thank you Remy!
MENTIONS: @RemyMorton @jamesfox666