Interview: Brook Macdonald Comments on Spinal Injury, Evacuation Delay, & Recovery Outlook

Sep 6, 2019
by Sarah Moore  
Moments before Brook Macdonald's crash on the 'La Tarzan' rock feature.

Last Saturday, August 31, we reported that Brook Macdonald had crashed on the final training day ahead of the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Championships and had to be evacuated off the mountain with a spinal injury. We've since learned that Brook broke two vertebrae in the crash and doctors have had to stabilize the spine with eight screws and two rods.

We sent Brook a couple of questions to find out more about how he is doing after the surgery.

What were the crash and subsequent evacuation like from your point of view?

Obviously not very good at all. I spent 5 hours on the mountain waiting for a helicopter. I felt like they had no organisation in place for an event like this which is very bad on their behalf. They tried to take me down the hill in a quad. Come on! I had spinal injury, isn’t your first thought a helicopter? It was the worst day of my life spent there. I didn’t get any painkillers for an hour so I was in so much agony. People were arguing and fighting over what should be done about me, they were lying to me on when the heli was going to be there, it was really bad. The only thing that got me through was Peaty, Blinky, Wyn and our physio Dennis. If I didn’t have the guys there supporting me I don’t know how I would have handled the situation.

How did the surgery go?

The surgery went really well and the surgeon was happy with what he did, the extent of my injury was pretty bad.

How long will you stay in Quebec before you can be transferred home?

I’m not sure yet. I’m allowed to go home now but I am not capable of flying yet as I need medical assistance so trying to sort stuff out with insurances. It's a little difficult as you know how they can be.

Have you regained full sensation in your lower extremities?

Pretty much still some tinglyness on the back of my legs and my ankles aren’t fully working yet but I can feel everything which is a really good sign it will just take time to regain that feeling.

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What is your long-term outlook like?

I wanna be back racing ASAP. That is my goal and I will get there. I know it’s going to take some time and rehab but I’m always up for a new challenge.

Brook MacDonald cracking on towards a casual 3rd place finish for the day.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I wanna thank each and every person that has reached out to me. It has been so overwhelming the support I’ve had from everyone around the world I just can’t believe it and it brings tears to my eyes. Never thought I was such a well known person but from the bottom of my heart thank you everyone.

We have no doubts that the Bulldog will achieve what he sets his mind to do. We're rooting for you Brook, all the best.


  • 402 6
 MSA needs to release a statement on how they managed to f**k that up so bad and what they've done to make sure it never happens again. One of the oldest and most respected venues to shit the bed like that.
  • 147 0
 Completely unacceptable. What an embarrassment.
  • 39 54
flag scott-townes (Sep 6, 2019 at 15:22) (Below Threshold)
 "They handled the situation well and were able to get me off the hill pretty quickly, I definitely would have liked to have had more information, however, compared to what Brook went through everything went pretty well. My initial thought of spending four and a half hours on the hill were pretty worrying!" - Kate Weatherly after breaking her neck.

But hey, at least they reduced their heli evac time by 30 minutes! Maybe next year they'll be able to get someone off the mountain with a serious injury within 3 1/2 hours! #babysteps #beblessedheli #whatdowedo
  • 23 0
 Having been hauled out in the Meat wagon a few times at the bike park, I can't fathom how on any given day at any bike park in BC a rider would be in hospital within half the time he spent lying up there waiting for evac.
This is a world championship course what broke down in Quebec's/ MSA/ UCI's planning to not have air lift on standby???
  • 18 9
 The way the situation was handled is indeed unaceptable, but shouldn't we wait to understand what went wrong before blaming anyone?
Pretty sure MSA has nothing to do with this as they don't host the event.
  • 23 6
 they forced the heli to land on the side of a mountain, that in itself is incredibly dangerous. it blows my mind they dont have a helipad there. Highland mountain has a helipad and that is a tiny hill compared to msa
  • 21 1
 @scott-townes: I agree that MSA has completely embarassed themselves on this one, but I think your impression of Kate's quote is misguided. She was concerned about having to spend the time waiting that Brook did. She was, however, dealt with much more quickly.

At what point though, does the UCI have to step up and have a basic emergency preparedness program? Certain local logistics will of course be specific to each venue, but basics such as predetermined air extraction points, etc really seem like a small step.
  • 3 2
 The thing about life threatening injury or not is very bad thought if spinal cord injuries are not in the package. No visible blood no heli or what? ... The doc had the choice to choose, no?
  • 2 0
 @VwHarman: Yeah maybe so. Either way, this isn't a new thing. This seems to happen every other year where injured riders are not taken care of in an appropriate manner, always at different venues. MSA is not known for this so probably just another one-time f*ck up.
  • 1 0
 Another article talked about how heli evacuation works : If the injury is life threatening they send an army copter, if not they send a copter when it's available, something like that.
It would be interesting to know how it's done in different places.
Most logical would be to winch the injured in the copter rather than to land on the mountain, but all chopper may not be equipped to do this. Is there no other way to bring someone injured down a mountain ? The quad seems a bit sketchy, even if the injured is all strapped to a stretcher.
  • 11 4
 @grundletroll: The injury was halfway up a mountain so where did you expect the heli to land? On top of that helicopters don't need a designated heli-pad to land and takeoff safely, they just need a reasonably flat area, or if that's not available a reasonably skilled pilot.
  • 10 0
 @captaindingus: In climbing they use a long cable. They can pull folks off of vertical cliffs.
  • 3 5
 @mudcrud: well yeah that is another option, just saying its not all that dangerous to land a heli on the side of a mountain.
  • 18 13
 MSA needs to step up and donate to Brook’s recovery, regardless of how major or minor it ends up being.
  • 15 1
 @grundletroll: Agree that halfway up a mountain there is nowhere to land, but I would expect a world-class event to have plans for this type of incident. Helicopters, if equipped, can conduct long line rescues and extract severely injured people from almost any location. We have that here in BC for sure.
  • 7 46
flag scott-townes (Sep 6, 2019 at 18:32) (Below Threshold)
 @nvranka: STFU
  • 12 0
 Ugh. That video puts it into perspective. One second you are shredding - next day you are learning to walk again. Heal up.
  • 8 16
flag BobbyHillbomb (Sep 6, 2019 at 20:07) (Below Threshold)
 @scott-townes: looks likes a pile of idiots didn't understand your sarcasm.
  • 4 0
 @nvranka: He'll have medical insurance, and once he gets back to NZ everything will be under healthcare.
  • 2 0
 @Clarkeh: yeah that's a good point i guess, still should do something! sounded f*cking insane how poorly things were handled at an event of this caliber...they should be ashamed for not already having stepped forward.

Maybe i'm just being a whiny idiot on the internet, but the whole thing was f*cked
  • 6 1
 I'm shocked there isn't a helicopter on site just in case they are needed. These guys and girls deserve better.
  • 6 7
 @Emu-Jon: You should be shocked. "Army helicopter dispatched in the case of a life threatening injury" is what you expect for riding a trail on your own out in the wilderness. There should never be an event, national or UCI, or frankly any other for that matter where they haven't spent their own money to have a helicopter on site. This doesn't just apply to DH but any form of sanctioned racing event (xc/4x etc.). There is no excuse for this. Serious injury is an eventuality, not a possibility, and there should be a helicopter on standby.
  • 1 0
 @BobbyHillbomb: that happens so often on here - you're right
  • 16 3
 @friendlyfoe: A helicopter on site for every event? Are you nuts? How many medical choppers do you think there are and do you know the cost?
Even in North America where choppers are more prevalent, I bet air ambulances are still rare. And as for winch equipped ones, rarer still.
Put into context and I imagine its similar in most places, in the UK all costal and mountain rescues are done by the Coastguard with winch equipped choppers. There are about 10 nationwide if memory serves me. Routine air ambulance work such as serious collisions, your average MX incident, etc are all done by county air ambulance that are charities - not even the health service.
You need to be realistic.
  • 4 1
 @ilovedust: I think red bull have a few spare helicopters about. Maybe one could be converted. Or they put people in a normal one. Send the doctors with them. 5hrs you could take all the ambulance stuff out of it and have most of what you need.
Uci have some silly rules. Maybe they should look at rescue plans as part of it. As others have said BC would have you out. So would Europe.
  • 2 2
 @ilovedust: disagree. The bikes are too good and people are going too fast. As I said it's not a possibility but an eventuality. They need to be prepared for it.
  • 7 0
 There are several private air ambulance operating in the uk. Major motorsports events and top level horse events require them on site at all times. I’m sure Canada must be similar, for an event the size of the UCI Worlds then it has to be made a standard procedure to have one on site @ilovedust:
  • 7 0
 At almost every iXS Cup race (and many UCI WCs) I’ve been to in Europe there is a properly equipped helicopter on site or on call nearby with a basket and cable to hoist the injured rider up. They also have a clearly laid plan and will frequently put the event on hold if the chopper does not have visibility to fly. My understanding is that this is a requirement from the event insurers.

What I can’t figure out is why this wasn’t in place in MSA.
  • 3 0
 @ilovedust: RAF also run a Mountain Rescue Service, they saved my bacon in Snowdonia.
  • 1 0
 @Clarkeh: Sometimes you have to pay yourself then claim it back on your insurance, I know a couple of folks who've had major hassles trying to sort it in Canada
  • 9 7
 @t1000: what went wrong is pretty simple and obvious. Liberal countries where everything is done to make money and where medical stuff is a business like any other this is what happened. In France heli would have been either national rescue or army operated and it would have been sent without second thoughts. #lovecapitalism
  • 8 3
 @Balgaroth: I think you got "liberal" and "conservative" mixed up there, bud.
  • 1 0
 Not MSA fault . Mostly the organization called velirium .
  • 4 1
 @captaindingus: are you f*cking stupid, helicopters can land essentially anywhere on a ski hill.

This is an absolute disgrace in every way imaginable Brook’s well being hanging in the balance and these c*nts couldn’t figure it out.

If this happened to a paying customer at any bike resort in North America they would have one helluva law suit on their hands.

To be honest I hope Brook does file a law suit against them over the lack of preparedness for this scenario because it’s f*cking unacceptable
  • 1 2
 @grundletroll: it’s really not that dangerous, if you’ve been heli skiing you land on much sketchier terrain than just a grassy slope
  • 1 0

True about Whistler. And the North Shore where they regularly long line folks out of the bush in an impressively short time!
That being said it’s regional struggle for resources for this type of equipment. When Stevie Smith had his crash at the wastelands in Nanaimo, there was no (and still isn’t) a helicopter in Nanaimo. BC Ambulance was called for a Medivac, which originates from the south terminal at YVR Vancouver. So the helicopter came from Vancouver, to Nanaimo, and transported him to Victoria. It’s shit indeed but logistics in Canada are complicated.
  • 1 0
 @ilovedust: in Kansas city we have three air ambulance companies. And that is just for a medium size city.
There are four hospitals that also have helis.
And the children's hospital has a leer jet as well.
  • 1 0
 That's scary he has loss of feeling in his legs. Have seen some horrors unfortunately here in the Beast Coast rocks, don't take this lightly.
  • 2 0
 So just to clarify that the agency that UCI pays to set up the venue at each race event is different and usually specific to the area. These agencies tend to set up all of the events at that mountain all year around. UCI has control as the client to tell the agency/event planner on what they want/need.

In this case the agency for the MSA world cup/champs events is Velirium. I would focus my attention and frustration with them ( They are responsible for ensuring that things are covered and are the primary point of liability for these issues. With that said, I am sure UCI will change their guidelines for each agency these use world wide to provide the specific plan on how matters like this will be addressed to ensure that this doesn't happen again.

Was this ridiculous...yup. I have been to MSA a number of times and know that anything beyond minor flesh wounds would need to go to a hospital in Quebec City (45minute drive away) or Montreal (2hours and 15 minutes drive away). The fact that they had nothing planned or did not pay to have a helicopter withing a 5 minute drive away from the parking lot (Plenty of fields in the general area for that) is totally inexcusable. What do you have to say Veliruim???
  • 2 0
 It's not MSA, it's Velirium that was in charge of organization of the event. UCI deals with local companies to host and organize at the venues they go to. Check this article:
  • 175 1
 Man every story I hear about Wyn shows he's a real class act. Helping Brook here, and the privateer award, Wyn TV in general, and I'm sure many others. Props to Wyn and I wish Brook all the best in his recovery!
  • 9 9
 The new Tippie Salute
  • 55 0
 Washing the denim destroyer's bike after he was red flagged so that he could get back up the hill in time for his rerun a few races ago too. A good egg for sure.
  • 43 0
 Don't forget Peaty, Blenki and his Physio Dennis also props to them!
  • 13 4
 @Dropthedebt: Nah, I can listen to Wyn.
  • 1 0
 He's a special human that's for sure.
  • 2 1
 It's unfortunate that we live in a world where someone being a decent human being is worth mentioning, but I agree, we could all learn a thing or two from each other and folks like Wyn. Kindness is contagious. Being an asshole is toxic to yourself and everyone around you.
  • 125 1
 Bulldog by name Bulldog by nature, seeing you up and moving so quickly is inspiring and testament to your strength of character Brook. Get well soon!
  • 18 1
 Let's upvote this to the top! Yes the UCI deserves flames for their failure, but what Brook really needs right now is to see how many folks here on PB are pulling for him!
  • 7 0
 It’s so great he is moving!
Time definitely matters with a spinal injury. Bone frags can work inward. I just cannot get over how long he waited on slope.
Btw, helicopters use long lines and land on the sides of mountains quite often. I’ve stomped out a pad in snow for an emergency landing before, and we’ve all seen plenty of footage from action sports films with sketch-as drops. Sure you need skilled pilots, but beyond that, there just isn’t really an excuse.
Isn’t the saying, if you are in the wilderness you call a heli for life OR limb? And I think a spinal injury is more severe than limb...
It took me 7 days to wiggle my toes after a t4-5 fracture, and subsequent fusion at t2-t8. I went from ICU bed ridden to Wheelchair, walker, cane to skiing in 3 months, 7 days. That was in 2010. I still don’t have proper sensation on my lower left side below my ribs. But the humbling part for me at the Spinal Nuero wing of the U of U hospital was that I was the only one on the floor that was getting better. Super humbling.
  • 3 0
 @snomaster: I've also spent time in a spinal unit (fractured T9,10 and 11), where I was one of the few to walk out. As you say, super humbling.
  • 27 0
 Well done pinkbike for that interview, it needed to be heard.... Brook was straight to the point... what he went through was a fu*ckin nightmare. No one should have to put up with that.
  • 23 1
 I was at MSA that day. I cannot comment on the care that Brook received on mountain, I can say that the helicopter pilot appeared to have problems landing in the windy conditions. He made multiple attempts before getting a calm moment to land. And taking off appeared to have the same issues. I'm just glad that Brook is doing OK.
  • 24 2
 As a Canadian, this is embarrassing. Your recovery updates are encouraging and I know we will see you back on a bike soon. You are going to kill this Brook!
  • 28 2
 This is on MSA and/or UCI, and other international organizers of the event. Not Canada.
  • 3 0
 Agreed very embarrassing Frown
speedy recovery Brook!
  • 7 0
 As easy as it is to make judgements, we dont know all the facts. As someone who has volunteered in emergency services for 4 years, I can tell you that its not always as easy as need a helo, call for helo, skids down and patient is packaged. Its not a good situation by any means, but cant make judgements until all the facts of the incident are presented. Only hope that Brook makes a full recovery and that procedures can be adapted and modified for the future.
  • 1 8
flag FuzzyL (Sep 6, 2019 at 23:44) (Below Threshold)
 @discoclint: How can this be on UCI? You mean they should have made sure that a place like MSA doesn’t get a World Cup, not to speak of the championships? Of course this is entirely right in hindsight, but imagine the outcry on here, when that decision would have been publicized.
  • 3 0
 @FuzzyL: uci, the organizer, needs to make sure, emergency procedures are in place.
Yes, that might cost extra money.
  • 1 0
 @xice: Won’t cost the UCI any money, because this would of course be entirely on the host of the event.

UCI is the governing body. If they shall prevent things like this happening, it can only be done by excluding any host that does not present a convincing emergency procedure concept in the first place. Yes, UCI could have a rule catalog for this - on the other hand it seems like common sense that someone who wants to host a world championship spends a few thoughts on what will happen in an emergency...
  • 1 0
 @FuzzyL: I didn't say that UCI would have to cover the costs. Sure it would be on the organizer's bill.
Actually, what you wrote pretty much elaborates my point.
Regarding common sense... That might be the case for Euro-alpine WC venues. They have kind of a longer tradition for mountain rescue, it appears to me. Maybe heli rescue is in the package there. If not, just make sure a pilot is on stand by. Next year it will be the case in MSA, I'm sure. And probably at the moment, in Snowshoe, as well. They wouldn't risk to save a few 1000 $ vs. all the money, effort and hope being lost due to negative press.
  • 20 1
 Hold fire for now on the UCi bashing for now please!

As an experienced UCi race organiser myself, this is how it works:
You apply to run a World Cup or a World Champs (in the case), pay the UCi a fee, I'm out the loop now but guessing between 20-30k euros and you organise the race and most of the infrastructure around it. That includes setting the course up, medics, marshals etc.. The UCi will of course work with you regards timing, Red Bull, number boards etc.. to ensure standardisation across the events.

The UCi team do turn up on mass with the likes of Simon Burney their MTB Consultant who has been attending World Champs for 30 years as well as David Vasquez the Gravity Technical Delegate (DH Legend from back in the day). They also supply the Commissaires. This is all to ensure safety, fairness and compliance with the UCi regs for running such an event.

From Brook's report, there seems to be a number of failings, now this could be down to the local procedures. Either way, the organiser would have submitted to their national federation and the UCi a technical document detailing all the details about the race, course length, number of marshals, medics, toilets, showers, anti-doping controls etc..

Now it may be that the rules, guidelines need up-dating to ensure this doesn't happen again. I have therefore contacted Simon Burney late last night offering him the opportunity to respond on behalf of the UCi. He fired me back a prompt response stating that the response will come from Louis Chenaille, the UCI Press Officer. We look forward to their response and any opportunity to increase rider and spectator safety and well being at all events. Back soon!
  • 7 1
 The UCi Press Officer is on the case, "Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our views on Brook’s accident which has been for various reasons very challenging to the organisation. We will return you our contribution later today".
  • 6 0
 @si-paton: thanks for posting a sane and measured account (from an experienced race organizer and Commissaire, no less).

For everyone's info, the UCI is a sports governing body who's primary function during World Cup races is sporting control. The race organizer is the entity responsible for the venue itself and for the logistics needed to run the event, including emergency medical care.

The UCI is not like the WWE or UFC, which handles both sporting control and event management.

Wishing the best of luck to the Bulldog for a speedy recovery.
  • 1 0
 @si-paton: looking forward to hearing this!
  • 1 0
 I would be interested to know who the people carrying the stretcher are and their roles at the event?
  • 1 0
 @si-paton: Any update? The business day has completed in both France and North America so I would have expected something by now.

The UCI has had time today to make a press release on the economic impact of World Champs, but not to address a major failure of health and safety? Riders bash the UCI and national federations because we don't always see what we get in return for the license fees and bureaucracy. This is yet another example.
  • 2 0
 No updates yet?
  • 15 0
 So what, f*ck the golden hour?... What if there were internal organ injuries? Brook would have died on that mountain.
  • 12 0
 Major props to Peaty, Blinky, Wyn and physio Dennis for stepping up. It's easy to convince yourself that distancing yourself from an uncomfortable situation like this is a benefit to the rider and the medical professionals is the right move. I, too, have been on the ground incapacitated, but could hear professionals argue about next steps/problems/ridiculous solutions etc. I couldn't tell you much I valued having a friend there who would voice things clearly to medical staff they way I would have wanted, but was [at the time] incapable of saying.

My other hot tip for those considering otherwise: stay with them through the hospital. A colleague of mine literally save me from carrying an unnecessary pace maker.
  • 11 0
 Brook you are unstoppable! My wife was once told she would never walk again after blowing up her pelvis...she has since learned to ski, bikes, rock climbs, does it all. She even broke her back in two places biking a little over a year ago. She is pretty much back to full strength now. The fact you are already able to be on your feet is phenomenal! You're going to make a full recovery, I am sure. I cant wait to see you back on the bike. You're going to be back sooner than most people think! We cant wait to see you hitting mach 10 again on the bike! Stay strong brother, we love you! Keep sending those inspirational videos out as you progress through recovery. I am sure it means more to all of us than you know!
  • 13 0
 Dude is a legend. Still really frustrating knowing how bad the response to his crash was.
  • 11 0
 All the best Brook! Legend
  • 5 0
 Even the EWS at Northstar the other week had a fully staffed medical helicopter on the ground the entire event. Additionally, Northstar positioned their own medical teams on the ground in high risk areas with proper equipment to treat the injured. Those staff members were very well trained as I witnessed them work a 17 year old who suffered a pretty significant crash, and they did a phenomenal job getting him off the mountain quickly and safely to waiting advanced medical personnel. Medical helicopters and properly trained staff MUST be at these events. Other sports (downhill skiing, race car events, etc) as well as other venues have specific requirements on medical response (which includes number of ambulances, helicopter, etc) along with police and other necessary staffing based on risk and attendee size. Getting the injured to advanced trauma care in a timely manner is critical to survival and recovery. It's time events like MSA get with the time!!!
  • 1 0
 Wow. Quite the stark difference it seems. It's like with most things, people do their best in the moment...but it's the planning and preparation where people fail...because it's a lot of extra work and due diligence planning for the unknowns. The saddest part is that there are great models for this...all they have to do is copy them, yet here we are.
  • 1 0
 That sounds bloody proper to me! I can only talk from my point of view (being a medic myself for 10 years), the way the situation was handled is an utter catastrophe, this should NOT happen at any time. If you compare for example to Leogang, the have teams all along the track with cars to evacuate easily. And the heli takes 10 min to arrive and has a wench to get people even out of cliffs. That he was not treated with pain killers just sounds outrageous, this is just embarrassing for the doc at the scene tbh. I am lost for words, that some sh*t like this happens in a well developed country like Canada.
  • 9 0
  • 4 0
 way to go Brook. Really looking to following your whole rehab. Got a son recovering from a serious TBI so recovery is an area close to my heart. You are an inspirational rider and person and all the kiwis on the WC circuit make me proud to be a New Zealander. Many many healing vibes. At least you will have the World Cup to keep you entertained during rehab. Go the Blacks
  • 5 0
 My buddy got injured in MSA a couple years ago right at the top of the mountain , it took more then 2 hours to get medical assistance.... MSA you are bad at this ... better fix that $&$!@
  • 4 0
 Hope for a quick recovery for half of the FLAT PEDAL THUNDER BRIGADE!!! But still rad to see that the true spirit of DH still lives on. Help your nemesis, help your friend, whether it be a last minute fix, the wheel off your own bike, the helmet off your head if needed, a non ripped Jersey off your back, or a hand in getting you out of the woods. We are all one thing, and that is Bike Family!!! Happy to see it still exists.
  • 4 0
 You sir, are a legend. If someone knows anything about down hill mountain biking, they know about Brook Macdonald.
We’re all hoping you have a quick and full recovery and we’re looking forward to seeing you at world cup races again soon.
By the way, how was the ground after you crashed into it? If you broke some bones, I bet the ground is pretty messed up too!
  • 3 0
 There are always a lot of opinions here on PB about how the UCI runs things, and maybe some of those people are right, because this seems totally unacceptable. There needs to be an investigation and the UCI needs to be held accountable whether that be by a riders organization or a lawsuit. Someone needs to get their attention because if they're failing like this at this stage of the game it's a good bet they're not going to get there by themselves.
  • 3 1
 Riders should band together and refuse to ride unless proper medical preparations are in place.
  • 3 0
 This kind of medical mess up is not what I'd expect at a massive event like the World Champs in a country like Canada. I would not expect it here either and I can say with 99% certainty that in Cape Town, Brook would have been in hospital in minutes no
  • 3 0
 This was a example of how the expected first world emergency back-up clearly didn't work.
Quebec/ Canada who would think it would take 5 hours to send a hellivac ....
So I agree a dedicated chopper should be on standby. In south Africa we tend to plan ahead because we don't expect too much off our EMS. So there needs to a plan B.

Brook hope you recover 100% and be back on your bike soon .
  • 6 0
 Sick to see Brook back on his feet so quick!
  • 7 4
 Poor guy. The lack of an organized and prompt evacuation is appalling. The fact that he was in that kind of pain tells you how bad it was. In another situation it could have led to someone dying.
  • 7 2
 Sorry man but that's not a fair statement, Brook's situation was deemed non life-threatening on site. SO he had to wait for a private heli, which took ages. Still unacceptable, no question. It was supposed to be a 50 minute wait. They said that life threatening injuries were to be dealt with by the Army who were on a 20 minute response time.
  • 13 4
 @superkeen: shouldn't have to be deemed life threatening to get a prompt evac. Its the world champs, not Iraq.
  • 1 1
 @ajayflex: As stated above, unacceptable, no question. I was raising issue with the statement that lives could have been lost had it been worse.
  • 5 0
 This guy is a fucking legend, not to many people break there back and say let's race asap
  • 3 1
 Kia kaha Brook. I hope your recovery is speedy and we see you back soon. Pinkbike, thanks for publishing an uncensored and straight talking article on what was a cluster fuck of a response to a potentially life changing injury.
  • 3 1
 Brook, god I hope you get healed, a shocking state of affairs by the sound of it on that hill, what a f*cking nightmare, sorry for you dude, you're an inspiration, I remember Warner saying he was scared of the party stoke level last time you won a WC race, says volumes!, y'know what? I nearly named my son after you 6 years ago - but he just didn't look like a Brook. We called him Cyrus instead. But, damn, next one is gonna be a Brook...even if it is a girls name lol, heal quick dude, we need your energy! xx
  • 3 1
 Wishing you all the best in your recovery from here in England Brook. I’ve always been a fan of your riding and me and my wife were in Lenzerheide the other month to see you race (not just you clearly but you know what I mean!). Stay strong and we’re looming forward to seeing you race again!
  • 2 0
 Motocross/supercross has asterisk medical unit. DH should have same thing. Both sports are high energy with potential life threatening/altering injuries. Was at local DH/enduro race and a guy got medivaced out and doesnt happen at world cup level??? Sad really. Then need better orginization. Spinal cord injuries have a certain protocol eg. look at nfl. UCI needs to take a hard look at this. Brook best of luck will be a long recovery as I am dealing with a nerve injury myself. There will be dark moments but you will have a lot of support from family, friends and fans. You will ride again no doubt!!
  • 2 0
 I used to roadrace motorcycles on track, the standard protocol is 2 ambulances on site at all times, never a helicopter. If someone is seriously injured, or if someone died (happened a couple times), track shuts down until a replacement ambulance arrived on site. It was an eerie feeling waiting for the track to reopen and your race is up next. Helicopters would have saved some lives I'm sure.
  • 1 0
 @S4-916: I volunteer regularly at an MX track near me, and its similar. We don't run events without an ambulance present and staffed. If someone is injured badly enough to require the ambulance and crew, we don't restart until a replacement is on site or the individual has refused care, allowing the original crew to return to duty.
  • 5 4
 Not saying this should be done or not, but what if the racers boycotted MSA next year unless they have shown a significant improvement in their emergency response plans. In this hypothetical scenario what would happen if a significant number of racers didn't participate?
  • 11 0
 I worked for the event organizers a few years ago and from what I know, MSA has nothing to do with it. The organizers have the responsibility to provide emergency services according to UCI requirements. My guess would be that the emergency procedures aren't appropriate or have been poorly executed. One thing I know is that having an heli on site for emergencies isn't part of the plan cause there's never been any. Maybe that should be the new standard.
  • 5 0
 @t1000: I think people are using the MSA tag as a placeholder for the event organizers. Regardless of who is responsible for the emergency services, the fact is the race at MSA has been happening for a long time. This suggests we are lucky that it is only just becoming a problem now. No reason to believe that this is the first year they were ill prepared for such an injury.
  • 3 0
 @VwHarman: Well I understand your point. I just don't want people to confuse everything and talk shit about organisations that have nothing to do with what happened.
  • 3 0
 It's a UCI event and UCI is the ones who should be footing the bill to have a helicopter at all of their events on standby. The mountain is only required to meet whatever specifications the UCI sets out for access.
  • 4 0
 Good work Peaty, Blinky, Wyn and his physio Dennis! Wishing you all the best with your recovery Brook
  • 1 0
 Im really hoping for a speedy recovery for brook. I used to work in the medical device industry and I actually sold those types of spine implants to surgeons. I spent time in the operating rooms and seeing outcomes of patients. Having 8 screws and 2 rods will limit his range of motion drastically going forward (especially if its in his lower spine). But that aint nothing a BULLDOG can't push through. Really hope to see him back out there, and I'm relieved he's starting to feel his lowers again.
  • 2 0
 Guess everyone has forgotten about CG. When he was airlifted he almost fell out of the helicopter. After they winched him up due to not being able to land. There is no perfect solution for a recovery in these conditions.
  • 1 0
 This will hopefully be a lesson to the organizations of races ... have your emergency plans sorted and have a plan B . Maybe being Quebec and Canada its expected to all work properly.... clearly not always. I've been involved in a simular situation on a race in rural south Africa and a helivac was on site in an hour . Anyway hope it wont happen again. Hope you recover and be back on the bike soon Brook . You're a legend !
  • 2 0
 Holy cow! (Sort of) walking in 1 week, wanting back to racing ASAP... this man is incredible! Don't rush it too soon Bulldog, especially now it's off season lol. Best wishes for full recovery!
  • 1 0
 I think we'll find that the UCI failed in ensuring that the contact for the event stated the need to have a helicopter on site. Hopefully it'll be plainly stated in all future contracts explicitly.

On a side note, the helicopter doesn't need to land if a rescue basket is available. Which any medivac/rescue helicopter should have. Just relies on a small open area to get the basket down in.

Best wishes to Brook for his recovery. Hopefully in time for Crankworx in Rotorua.
  • 1 0
 I've had a similar injury (motocross) and you plan to come back but your mind limits you. You get back to the track and you're almost as fast at first but then as time goes on you realize the edge is gone. My experience anyways.
Good luck Brook!
  • 1 0
 Brook, if the Tarzan rock broke your back... then the Tarzan rock must be ground to pebbles as a result of that impact! We’re all so glad to see you up already. As far as the quality of EMS care you received... well props on you for telling it like it is. I honestly think all the pro riders need to get together and form a player’s union. Collectively you folks could make sure that the organizations putting on these events have certain standards in place. Properly trained EMS people that aren’t going to suggest a quad ride to an athlete who clearly has no spinal clearance. EMS people that have things like... I dunno ????‍♂️ pain killers and other emergency meds available quickly, a rescue helicopter in place, etc. Clearly the organizers and sponsors of the event didn’t see to this. Props to Peaty, Wyn, Dennis, and Blinky for looking out for you. That’s just an example of what I’m talking about on a smaller level. When it came down to it it was your fellow riders making sure that you were taken care of. So you all need to get together and have each other’s backs up front before some crap like this goes down. Also as a collective you guys could organize your own insurance which helps solve that problem too. Heal up sir. We all love the Bulldog.
  • 1 0

we never meet in Person but I wish you all the best.
Massive Healing Vibes from Cologne/Germany.

Always a pleasure see you ripping the Worldcup tracks apart. Hope to witness that again. The sooner the better.

  • 1 0
 I had a bad crash last Thursday. Broke my hip (basically shattered it). It took 3 hours for search and rescue to make their way to me. We were very ill prepared as a group of riders for this but my comrades made a fire and kept me feeling the best they could while the shock set in. Everyone did their very best. Search and rescue did an incredible job. It’s not a fun time but we all know the risks and have to be prepared to accept the consequences. I love that he wants to ride again ASAP and I do as well. We can’t let things become our demons - get back on the steed and face them! I wish Brook a speedy recovery! Also important is not to be too hard on the first responders as they are genuinely doing their best to help. It’s a tough situation to be placed in. Safe riding everyone!
  • 1 0
 Annnndd I'm adding some storm matched to my pack today. Get well
  • 1 0
 The scariest thing about this is the mob mentality and anger. Out of 170 responses there are only 3-4 level headed responses, the rest want to burn MSA, UCI , or Air Medic at the stake. The original article linked below paints a more accurate timeline. crash at 12:05, aircraft called at 12:43 and evac "almost four hours after the incident happened" (probably meaning around 4 pm) Pilot was on standby ( their definition appears to be 50 minutes, he's not sitting in the aircraft waiting to take off at the drop of a hat) and a 50 minute flight time (meaning base was probably > 100 miles away) and landing was delayed for windy conditions. Combine this with the time it takes to extricate someone on a backboard from mountainous terrain, less than 4 hours total really isn't that awful. Clearly there were some delays, but the article details what changes were being made. I'm sorry this happened, but this interview is more emotional than objective, and the timeline is exaggerated (and everyone who can't see past that picks up their pitchforks.)

I worked as a LifeFlight crew in the past, the thing people don't think about is that the lives of the pilot and medical crew are at risk during every flight. Changing weather and wind, and unknown LZ's are significant risks, and we don't just jump into action like on TV. All these risks are constantly evaluated and sometimes cause delays. Crashing in a helicopter is much worse than crashing in a DH race. In the end, a one hour delay for Brook didn't really change his outcome at all. it doesn't change his need for surgery, it doesn't change his ability to get back on his bike any sooner.
  • 5 1
 Medics on the hill didn't even have painkillers by the sound of it. WTF?
  • 2 0
 I’m not sure if medics or docs would be inclined to administer painkillers in this situation. The guy had a clear spinal injury, saying he couldn’t feel his legs at first. I would think a big part of their treatment and monitoring of the situation would involve Brook himself telling the doctors where he felt pain, if he still had feeling in certain areas, etc. give him pain killers and he becomes a less reliable source of information.
  • 3 0
 @sino428: Negative. There is absolutely no contraindication to giving pain relief in spinal injury. This does not limit clinical assessment in any significant degree. Any paramedic on the scene could have obtained intravenous access and administered fentanyl or morphine. I don't know what the situation or resources were available but withholding analgesia on clinical grounds like you have outlined is not a thing.
  • 1 0
 @AnastasiaB: it was just a thought, I have no idea how it’s isually handled, I was just thinking that if assessing and monitoring the injury (which was unclear) was dependent of brook telling the docs what he can feel, where he has sensation, where he feels pain, etc that essentially numbing his pain might be something they would avoid.
  • 4 0
 @sino428: Nah, to be honest it's way harder to assess the extent of any injury when the person is in pain. The way we assess neurological injury in the emergency department does not require a whole lot of cooperation from the patient. For example, if I am trying to assess leg power and the person is in pain they will be weaker (have you ever had a back sprain? you feel like you can't use your legs because you are in pain, but you don't actually have a spinal or nerve injury). Frequently we will give person enough analgesia to blunt the pain signals and then test again. The old world of "don't given a patient any pain relief before they get to the doctor"is long gone. If Brooke was left with no serious pain relief with these kind of injuries it was an appalling medical management.
  • 1 0
 @AnastasiaB: thanks for that info.
  • 1 0
 All im going to say is heal fast dude and props to peaty and co for helping you through. Hopefully lessons were learned, although sadly through Brooks misfortune. Hope to see you shredding again soon dude
  • 2 0
 Wow, incredible. Brook, you are one Bad Ass MF. Your mental mindset and positivity makes me stoked. Pumped to see you race again soon.
  • 2 0
 It's always amazing to hear about the camaraderie you guys have and the well wishes from all the racers, get well soon Bulldog!
  • 3 0
 What an awesome attitude!! Fair play to him for being completely committed to get back racing straight away!!
  • 1 0
 Best wishes in your recovery brook. Absolute tank and love that you're already planning the come back. Great mindset and a great role model. Whole mtb community behind you man. ????????
  • 2 0
 A true legend and an inspiration. Can’t wait to see him slaying trails again.
  • 3 0
 I am now a huge Brook Macdonald fan.
  • 3 0
 Circuit needs the bulldog, your style is unique and loved! Heal up good
  • 2 0
 Keeping it classy... true kiwi style ! Get well soon! Great outlook! @brookmacdonald6
  • 2 0
 Good luck with the recovery, looking forward to your return.. again. Coming back even stronger
  • 1 0
 Wow, that was close from disastrous.
33 staples...
I once fell from a horse flat on my back, didn't break anything but felt like 80y.o. for 2 weeks.

Healing vibes Smile
  • 2 0
 Brook whats the hospital that you re at I would love to pay you a visit ! Thank you and lots of LOVE and Support !
  • 2 0
 I freaking love his drive. Anything else besides racing is not an option. He'll be back strong as ever
  • 2 0
 The Bulldog is a legend that cant be stopped. I hope you heal quick you superstar.... We need you back.
  • 2 0
 Worst kind of crash . Probably full recovery. So glad that in in the end , he will be riding again!
  • 3 0
 Blinky's wearing gloves? Further confirmation MSA is gnarly.
  • 2 0
 Keep your chin up Brook, you’re a gun and we all wish you the best in recovery.
  • 2 0
 Quick recovery BULLDOG...we know YOU'LL BE BACK!!!
  • 2 0
 Heal up! Stoked to see your progress!
  • 1 0
 Lucky to have good mates there to support him, Wyn & Blinky must have been pretty fired up over the situation.
  • 4 2
 This is why you can't have nice things Quebec.
  • 6 0
 Well, you're not wrong. It would appear that for some f*cking stupid reason, Québec's minister of health don't like the idea of integrating air evacuation in the public health program. Every other province of Canada has it except for us...WTF?!

AirMedic is pretty much the only private company around and they only have 4 helicopters... But I don't even think that was an option, the Canadian Army was probably a lot cheaper and therefore a better option for the UCI.

I'm not worried for Brook, he's probably the baddest motherf*cker on the planet, he'll be back stronger. However, I am worried about the future of DH racing in MSA. We've seen bad decisions taken in similar circumstances before but never as bad... 5 f*cking hours.. I'm actually impressed at how spectacular of a f*ck up that was.

Stay strong Brook, you absolute stud!!
  • 2 1
 I'm not sure mr.Surrey here should be criticizing QC. I've lived at & ridden lots at MSA, been in the hospital there, got great care. This incident is not typical. And it's the UCI organizers who messed this up anyway. BC care is great too but it's no better than QC.
  • 2 0
 @S4-916: A LOT of us have spent a lot of time in QC. The lower level triage isnt the issue. its trauma and medivac issues due to the bureaucracy problems your province has in litterally every aspect of government. QC is a political shitshow and this is a tangible example. QC doesnt even allow dogs in its provincial parks.... its people are great, the politics are the worst in Canada.
  • 1 0
 @atrokz: Agreed on all the above. People are great, outdoor life is great, politicians are corrupt AF. Not my province btw, I just lived in QC for work for several years. I trust they'll get the Evacs sorted for next year, praise to the Lorg that Brook regained use of his legs, and best of luck to him in his recovery.
  • 1 0
 @atrokz: Right on dude, a f*cking shitshow. By the way the gvt finally changed their mind on the stupid no dog rule in provincial parks. They're allowed throughout QC since May 2019. I'll be honest tho I'm not sure that was a top priority considering the never ending list of shit that need to be fixed here. Oh well, one foot in front of the other, right? Cheers!
  • 1 0
 @S4-916: I'm unsure why your hospital stay in quebec has anything to do with how piss poor the Medi-vac situation was in Quebec.

BC has easily one of the f*cking best Medi-vac/ S&R programs in the world. I should know as I was nearly killed by an avalanche this year and saw it first hand. S&R teams from around the world come to BC to train with our guys.

And let's be real my comment was clearly a just taking the piss and not a personal attack.
  • 2 0
 Heal fast! Sending good thoughts.
  • 1 0
 Healing vibes brotha we are all praying you’ll be back 100% keep your head up
  • 2 0
 All the best for your recovery bro
  • 2 0
 Heal up soon Bull Dog!!!!
  • 1 1
 Unfortunately if he doesn’t file suit I feel like shit won’t change. Makes me angry reading this and I’ve never met the guy.
  • 1 1
 Call emergency Heli ready to fly max 15min away Heli drops doctor and stretcher on cable without landing Off they go Between incident and evac 30min max WTF
  • 2 0
 For an event that size and scope it is appalling they were not prepared
  • 1 0
 Anyone who's spent enough time in QC won't be surprised at that finger pointing shitshow.
  • 1 0
 Hang in there Brook. Everyone wants you back - racing and at 100% healthy! It takes time. Don't rush it.
  • 3 2
 Maybe Whistler should step up and host it next year.
  • 1 0
 So impressed at these guys 'get back on the bike' attitude
  • 1 0
 Heal up fast Brook! Can't wait to see you back on the bike!
  • 1 0
 5 hours. Jesus
  • 2 1
  • 1 0
 Well, seems the opposite for this season. Stuff got extremely fast.
  • 1 0
 get well soon Brook !!!
  • 1 0
 Get well, Brook!
  • 5 6
 Did he wear back protector?
  • 14 3
 Back protectors don't make you invincible to spinal injuries........
  • 4 0
 Yes he was.
  • 4 0
 Fractures in the spine can be caused by compression, see for example Kate Weatherly a day later. I don't know what caused the injury in Brook's case btw.
  • 2 0
 Yes, it was a mandatory requirement of the event.
  • 2 0
 @scott-townes: no they do not make you invincible BUT they do DRASTICALLY reduce the chance of injury, as well as the severity! that said nothings full proof.

heal up Brook we need you back racing!
  • 2 0
 Wyn replied to someone in another thread, apparently he did as they are mandatory at MSA.
  • 1 0
 I compressed T5-T11 and fractured both elbows while wearing a full upper body suit. Pads help, but they can't prevent all injuries.
  • 1 0
 @CaptainBLT: I don't think there's much you can do to protect against compression fractures.
  • 6 7
 MSA is cut. Dunzo.
  • 1 0
 Back protectors are mandatory at DH/EWS or you will not be allowed to drop even on practice.
  • 1 0
 never gonna happen. its a legend. will be there till the end of days.
  • 1 0
 @nicoweiss: why are back protectors not mandatory? New materials make them pretty comfortable. Seems they make sense for some types of crashes.

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