Video: Injury Update - Brayden Barrett-Hay Part 3

Mar 11, 2014
by Brad Scholl  
Part 3 of Brayden's Recovery:

Serious brain traumas are a hot-button issue in adventure sports. No one knows this as well as Canadian, Brayden Barrett-Hay, who had his mountain biking career nearly cut short after a life-threatening crash at last year's Redbull Joyride. Brayden is back on his feet but not back in the saddle, yet. Follow him as he physically and mentally rehabilitates with the goal of regaining his professional riding career. Although he appears to be healing without incident, doubts linger as to whether he should step back on the bike at all, given that another head injury could mean permanent impairment or death. The doctors advise against it but Brayden is determined, maybe to his own detriment, to get his old life back. The Long, Scary Road Back From Brain Injury.

Check out Part 2 here in case you missed it.

Check out Part 1 here in case you missed it.

Posted In:
Videos Injuries


  • 42 1
 respect to him, its that simple.
  • 9 0
 She'd be proud ma man! respect you so much.
  • 7 0
 "Brayden is back on his feet but not back in the saddle, yet."

The f*ck was he doing at joyride then? 3'ing all of the jumps on foot?
  • 13 10
 Doctors dont really get it, A life without my bike wouldn't be a life I would want, In his position id Rather take the risk and enjoy myself. Mad respect for Brayden for doing so!
  • 40 6
 Yes but as you get older, priorities change - today biking may be all you want to do. Later, it'll be one other thing you'll want to do. Life is full of great surprises. I hope Braydon gets to enjoy a lot more beyond his good biking years.
  • 18 6
 ^that is true but if you're always planning for the future you rarely enjoy the present!
  • 11 5
 @hgardner - Doctors get all to well ! What are you 12 ?
His next visit to them ( the doctors / hospital ) may not have a great ending.
Their advice is for his good in the future , not to ruin his good time.
Seems you can't see past your handlebars.
People's bodies can be extremely resilient but can also be way to fragile , more so when exposed to the dangers of extreme riding.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
  • 7 4
 I am aware of how serious injuries especially brain injuries can be I've see the result first hand. As for "not looking past my handle bars" well I'd agree, I'm often out riding when I should be studying etc, It's human nature to an extent, I'm certainly not ashamed of it. I know doctors are their to help but brain injuries are incredibly difficult to understand, a lot of it still comes down to chance even in this day and age, the same small fall that has no effect on one person can kill another, Its even harder to predict the long term effects.

But anyway the point is Brayden seems to be making a solid recovery, already back riding at a level most of us can only dream of and I wish him the best for the future!
  • 6 5
 @hgardner. Saying " doctors don't get it " sounds ridiculous from a 18 year old dirt jumper is all.
They don't "get" what ? Do you or him understand brain injuries better than the treating doctors - Lol.
For long term affects of brain injury take a good look at boxers in their later years.
The advice they give has to do with his injury and future not about how much he enjoys riding.
Does he "plan" on ever crashing again?
How can he right ?
So.........It's like playing roulette with more billets in the gun now.
Your brain doesn't enjoy being shake'n around in your skull ! Simple.
Shake your brain at your own risk.
And with the way he rides it's a given that he will crash again and again.

Everyone wants to be the best they can be but sometimes sh!t happens.
Hope he's the best he can be at whatever he chooses for sure but , calculated risks are just that "RISKS".
Hopefully the risks he's taking pay off somehow.
  • 5 4
 Yes Boxer's are a great example some are absolutley fine whilst others such as Ali have devasting long term effects, so to use your metaphor it's like playing roulette with an undisclosed amount of bullets in the gun, could be more could be less, But I guess the point I was making was that there is a difference between living and just surviving, I'm sure that sounds stupid coming out of an 18 year olds mouth for some, but thats fine by me I try not to take myself to seriously, and everyone who steps on a bike knows plenty about calculated risk, for me it would be a risk worth taking.
  • 4 4
 @hgardner. At 18 that's the response I would expect from you.
That calculated risk just got a lot higher for him. Not you.
At 40 he may wonder if that was the best choice is all I'm saying.
He's already had a head injury , so he's gonna be MORE prone to future head trauma - simple !
He doesn't have any fewer bullets in his roulette game , he has 5 of 6 chambers loaded.

Most sports have thousands , sometimes millions of people trying to "make it."
99.9 % of them will never get paid and make a living from it , so risking your life may just not be worth the "fun" you derive from it.

If you think it is worth the risk , go for it.
  • 3 2
 Got to side with beeone72 on this one. Nothing more to add really. Taking massive risks (way beyond the normal risks of the sport we all love) and being ignorant to the likely results is just damn stupid and selfish (hgardner not Brayden). It's not just yourself affected by such an attitude but the family who have to live with your choices too.

"People's bodies can be extremely resilient but can also be way too fragile , more so when exposed to the dangers of extreme riding.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery."

No more needs to be said!
  • 2 2
 More power to you. Just don't expect much sympathy when you jack yourself up. We all know the risks.
  • 7 0
 As a doctor and a DH racer I can say one thing. Being a doctor slows you down. You get to the point where you've seen too much Frown
  • 8 2
 jeez, teenagers are claiming to be more e-expert about advanced medicine than specialist doctors?

put the bong down, kids
  • 6 0
 or don't put it down but just stop pretending to be experts. Everyone wins!
  • 2 1
 Problem solved. But kids , at least wait until your brain has fully developed before you start messing it up on purpose.
  • 5 0
 Taking the risk may not be worth it. The next crash may mean a permanent disability or being off the bike forever. There's a big wide world between permanent disability and professional slopestyle mountain biker. You can still ride a lot of great trails while keeping the risk managed.
  • 3 4
 Love a good reasoned arguement and I'm siding with hgardner here........a lot of doctors don't get it frankly and to take the "can't see beyond the handlebars analogy" a bit further a lot of doctors can't see much at all beyond their own ill health and lack of ability to look after themselves. Sad. Even sadder in Australia is that the biggest cause of death in young kids is road trauma (.....not from DH bikes but from cars) and suicide. My take would be if there were more people riding bikes in the bush/downhills who knows but we do know kids aren't exercising enough nor forming meaningful social interactions and bike riding with your mates offers both of these in spades. Ride on and yes a few of us might get maimed or brain damaged in the trip which is sad but far less sadder wrapped around a power pole dead because your so called mate drove an overpowered car too fast drunk.........
And for the record I don't think hgardener was professing to be more an expert than a specialist but again even specialists talk a lot of shit.....and not every specialist is thinking of patient welfare when weighing up treatment time you see a specialist ask him/her what type of car they drive and if they drive something expensive find another specialist.
Ride on
  • 3 2
 PS-great to see you on your bike Brayden......make sure your helmet is done up a bit more securely yes? Am I remembering that your helmet came off on the crash? Sorry if my memory is mistaken.
And I should say not all docs nor specialists are of poor health or talk shit. Only some.......
  • 2 1
 @cosby ? ? ? ?
"even specialists talk a lot of shit.....and not every specialist is thinking of patient welfare when weighing up treatment time you see a specialist ask him/her what type of car they drive and if they drive something expensive find another specialist."

What ???? Let me guess ...Your under 18 and an expert ?

Your gonna driving for awhile if your looking for a DR with a crappy car bro.

Soooo your saying most Dr.s are just scamming us , sending people to unnessary therapy when they've been seriously injured ?
And that's likely what's happening in this case as well ?
  • 4 0
 This is supposed to be an inspiring comeback story, to prove to people that no matter how hard you may fall you can get back up and continue with life. All of this internet doctor stuff needs to stop, he's seen multiple specialists who have all given him mixed opinions. He knew of the risks before the injury and he knows the risks now too, nothing has changed. Please stop taking away from this story, as I have first hand witnessed his career almost be destroyed by this. I have been there for nearly every check up, his physio, his naturopath healing treatments and most importantly, I was there when he was bed ridden just after he got back from Vancouver. His drive to get back to what he views as his normal life should be what were talking about. Not how doctors know or don't know. Enoughs enough
  • 3 2
 Nobody was saying bad DR.s may not be out there but "Normally" a DR.s advice is a good thing.
By all means get a second or third opinion but to make out that Dr.s with nice cars are crooked is pretty naive.
  • 4 4
 @mechanicaleyemedia - shut ur hole !

You've put three different update pieces on here but apparently nobody can comment on anything but what you approve.
Go buy yourself a personal internet and you can make that request.
Its great your buddy has decided that flying over 20ft or 30ft in the air is a good idea with the condition his brain is in but we're allowed to comment on Pinkbike - if you don't like it don't post article after article on here hoping for only congrat's and good vibe's.
  • 4 2
 you're an angry dude....
  • 2 3
 Thanks dude.
  • 3 0
 glad you watched, and glad you have an opinion on this matter. And to clear it up, I haven't had any issue with any comments under any of my posts until now.....people have different views and i respect that.....this got out of hand in my opinion and i voiced my displeasure. Thanks for watching
  • 2 0
 PB may never be the best place for balanced views although there is nothing wrong with questioning the sanity of 3'ing some fairly sizeable jumps, casually pulling flairs, etc etc so soon after a massive and potentially very dangerous injury. Mixed opinions from specialists should give just as much of an indication of the risks as a flat out unanimous "no" from all specialists. The risks are massive. Not just pretty big like normal riding but massive.

No one can fault Brayden's spirit or love for the sport but another bump could be a tragic rather than "inspiring comeback" story. Why does he feel he knows better than some of the specialists and why rush so quickly back in to things? That is the type of thing which should be addressed in the video.

As it is, it somewhat plays downs the massive risks. A year or two can make the world of difference both ways in terms of the longer term prognosis unfortunately. Even a normal MTB movie plays down the risks of the sport when you see someone casually waving from a hospital bed smiling next to an X-Ray. The average person how no idea of the consequences of an injury and there's nothing wrong with questioning some of the choices individuals make.
  • 2 0
 Thank you. So true.
When your 16 or 17 and think jumping bikes is your "career" I guess Dr's don't matter to much.

For real tho good luck with your noggin kid.
  • 4 1
 mixed opinions means, a few yes' and a few no's. It's 50/50 from doctors, Brayden knows how his head is feeling, whether he feels symptoms day in and day out. These videos do not down play the severity of his injury but actually shed light on the risks involved in this sport and the amount of time it takes to come back from something of this nature. He doesn't feel that he knows better than specialists but he feels as though he is ready for this season. Believe me, we've talked about this so much off camera its ridiculous. These athletes are not like you or i being average riders, they know when to push their limits, when they don't pop right off a take off, when they aren't comfortable with a trick etc etc. 90% of the athletes you watch on the FMB circuit are not out there hucking themselves for the sake of impressing people, they do these things because they believe they are capable of doing it, yes sometimes things go wrong as this series has shown, but these people are not your average rider trying new things. They have trained hard to be where they are, they downplay their fear each every day, this series is not intended to downplay the risks involved in this sport but to show people that things sometimes don't go as planned and that drive and perseverance pays off.
  • 1 0
 Sorry to be pedantic but 50/50 means at least 50% chance of riding like that being a damned stupid idea in the opinion of highly trained specialists. Those are high odds with higher than normal consequences. To say he feels ready for the season (and I don't doubt in his mind he feels like this) goes against the 50/50 probability of riding being damned stupid. This is saying he feels he knows better than the more conservative of the specialists, the costs of which with the benefit of age and hindsight don't bear thinking about. The video does down play the severity when you show that at least some highly trained specialists advise no riding and he's pulling a flair or whatever which contradicts this advice. Unfortunately sometimes drive and perseverance might not be the better mid to long term option. Unfortunately too, even the best guys regularly on the FMB circuit are hucking themselves despite their massive experience and skill levels. How many people got taken out at X-Games and Rampage for example. And for what reward? A few broken bones is a big deal although we understand a lot about the recovery and expectations. Riding so hard so soon is a massive gamble however you look at it. That isn't something which comes across from the videos and could be misinterpreted by other young, naive PB readers when you see someone performing "miracles" in such a short time, the consequences of which remain unknown. Although this appears a one sided view and should not take away from the hard work I'm sure we never get to see, some balance in the recovery videos is valuable.
  • 1 0
 If you think you know what's best for him then by all means talk to him about it. I'm here to produce his recovery and show people this sport has risks associated with it. He feels he is ready to compete, enough said
  • 3 0
 I don't ride half pipe or dirt jumps so I'm curious - how often does someone riding as he does take a good spill or wipeout?
One a month ? Pushing the limits I would assume at least something like that.
Even a decent spill could be the end for him or any of us for that matter.

This article shows the risks - with his unnessary early return also.
( heaven forbid he miss a whole season - end of the world bro )

Enough said.
  • 1 0
 In answer to your qeustion, I have hit my head once from a fall and broken a wrist, most crashes in dj are basically either slipping a pedal and smash your shin and or nuts, or sliding down a landing on either your knees or hands etc, I'm sure pro's crash more than that because they are pushing more, End of the day it's his brain to do with as he wants, however reckless it might seem to some.
  • 1 0
 @beeone72 these athletes take a few spills over a month long period, but they definitely do not slam as hard as Brayden did at crankworx all the time. These types of slams are a one off, generally, most guys end up with bruises, cuts, muscle tears or small breaks/fractures, but for the most part because they are professionals they know how to fall and walk away unscathed. As for your "miss a whole season" comment, its unfortunate to say but a season can make a huge difference in how the athlete is compensated down the road, companies are always looking for cheaper solutions to save themselves money. This is not the case in Brayden's books but it has happened and will continue to happen.....a great example of this is paul bas
  • 2 0
 Cool. That's not a regular slam for sure ! I'm happy he's doin good and props to him for real. Seems like a cool young man. I don't know him but I did read the the articles and watched some of his awesome riding skills. I can image its like any other sport - nobody wants to lose the spot they have earned. I get it.
  • 1 0
 There was an excellent article with Paul Bas where he basically said he wasn't prepared to keep taking stupid risks (even with a pretty healthy body) when people wouldn't care or know who he was in 10 years time. He didn't lose out in the industry for missing a season or two, he saw the bigger picture having enjoyed a successful spell at the top of the sport.

At the end of the day even being a pro slopestyle/ DJ rider is done for yourself. Fair play if you really have the love and determination but there's little to no reward even for the very top guys and only for a short time frame. Would an extra season's rest really hurt a genuinely talented and passionate young guy's chance of living the pro life? As fickle as the industry is I wager that if you have the skills and the personality then you'll get picked up just fine. More important is having the health to make the most of ones skills and passion.

The fact that this has been brought up by several people is at least worthy of discussion and being highlighted/ interviewed/ explored in the rest of the video series.
  • 1 0
 you all have valid points, I think the perspective simply changes with age. If any of you have not yet seen it, please watch "The Crash Reel" about snowboarder Kevin Pearce, such a good movie all about TBIs and a fella who was beating Shaun White till he has his.
  • 2 0
 I had head trauma that took me two years to recover from. I hit my head on a tree going 30 mph, I wasn't in a coma or anything but it turn my world upside down. I still can't remember half my life (I did get to watch south park all over again without remembering a single episode!) but I just got back on the bike this year and my life has finally turned back around!Smile
  • 2 0
 Much respect and admiration but I'd certainly be wearing a full face helmet... no denying they protect way better than a Dj helmet. Good luck to a great season and I hope to see you at Freeride Fest.
  • 2 0
 INJURY UPDATE- I'm doing fine also, thank you for your concern. I had a broken wrist for 6 months and raced on it with out knowing; it started hurting so i got it checked out - needed surgery and after 8 weeks I AM BACK!
  • 3 0
 YYYYYEEEESSSSSS !!!!!!!! He's back. Congrats. Lol. Broke my wrist before also. Didn't know it was broke til hours later , it started to ache. 20 years after the cast came off - still hurts.
  • 1 0
 Im so glad you on the bike again doing what you love Brayden.
You are trying to stay safe? Please tighten you chin strap on your helmet. If you smack your fore head the helmet will just slide out of the way.
Hope to see some footage of you in competition soon. Keep the rubber down.
  • 1 0
 Let's be honest guys, any of the top riders in this line of work are at risk of serious brain injury or even death. Speaking as someone from the medical field and with friends in the field (neurology included), doctors will say the safe route to cover their asses. We live in a world where people love to sue because they take things word for word. Realistically if the doctor gives him the go ahead and something serious happens he could try to go back on the doctor. I'm not saying that his injury wasn't serious, but any of of the riders in this industry could face the same fate, so should we all assume the safe way in life?
Good on you Brayden for doing what you love
  • 1 0
 If you have not seen it yet watchThe Crash Reel. It is a documentary about Kevin Pierce and his 2 year recovery after a head injury while snowboarding. It has been several years since his injury and he still has issues. It will definitely change your perspective on head injuries and the way we all destroy our bodies doing the sports we love. It is amazing to see this kid back on his bike again when a lot of guys do not get a second chance. Be safe Brayden!
  • 1 0

"he feels he's ready to compete"

I think there are a number of issues highlighted throughout the posts, doctors do or don't know what they're talking about, the risks that Braydon is taking etc

I think that one thing that the neurologists would say, is that a person who's suffered a catastrophic brain injury is not necessarily best placed to risk assess their own behaviour, the fact that he feel's he's ready to compete does not necessarily mean he is ready - thats not a judgement on whether he is or he is not, its a factual observation - people with impaired brain function don't make the soundest of decisions

The Crash Reel aptly demonstrates pretty clearly in a non-clinical way the impact of impaired judgement and the effects of a catastrophic brain injury on a sports participant, I think it took Kevin Pearce more than 2 years to acknowledge not just the impact it had made, but the longer term issues associated with it, without considering the impact on the family, friends and ability to function productively in a wider social network

The only thing I find really strange is the idea that Dr's are 50/50 on him continuing to ride, the literature and evidence at the moment points to repeated concussions impacting the brains ability to function normally, that the more concussions you've suffered, the more likely you are to suffer a further one, and that the long term effects of repeated concussions are poorly understood but unquestionably not positive

If neurologists, neurosurgeons and physicians really are 50/50 saying its ok to ride, you wonder how current they are on the research or if you're shopping around to find one that will say what you want to hear
  • 2 0
 Love watching each of these as they come out. He really is doing well with his injury and coming back. I better helmet would help me watch more easily.
  • 2 0
 Such a super cool guy. Seems super chill too. Glad to see him back on a bike and I hope he's back to full speed again soon.
  • 2 0
 saw him at Joyride a few weeks back. He rode amazing, I would never have thought he was in recovery. Best of luck Brayden!
  • 1 0
 Same here man! He's a great rider. Props to you Brayden, keep pushing yourself
  • 1 0
 Can't remember if it was the 9th or not, but it was around that time I was there & the dude rode like nothing ever happened to him.
  • 1 0
 This dude has a super sweet style. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but it's really awesome. Respect Brayden
  • 2 0
 Congrats Brayden! Solid riding for not being "back in the saddle" yet!
  • 1 0
 After all that, I would probably want to get myself a more protective full covering helmet...
  • 1 0
 Well said! Best of luck this season and with your carrier in MTB.
  • 2 0
 Brayden you rock
  • 1 0
 Enjoy life then die or dont live then die. Braydon enjoy the ride!
  • 1 0
 Glad to see you back riding!
  • 1 0
 Mad Courage bro!! much respect!
  • 1 0
 Do your freaking helmet up properly FFS

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