Video: Catching Up with Brook Macdonald 6 Months Post Spinal Injury

Mar 22, 2020
by Pinkbike Originals  

Brook Macdonald suffered a spinal injury while practicing the downhill course at Mont-Sainte-Anne in August 2019 leaving him unable to walk. Just 6 months later Brook has made a miraculous recovery and gotten back on the bike with plans to race in 2020. We caught up with him at Crankworx Rotorua to see how recovery is going and to talk about his plans for the future.


  • 57 1
 The power of will and determination can be astounding!
  • 19 0
 INDEED !!!!! AND The power of the bulldog is astounding !!!!!!! WHAT AN INSPIRATION... LIKE PAUL BAS.
  • 3 0
 Bulldog is back! I'm just surprised that Mt St Anne survived the encounter.
Btw, what's with the green nets above the trails in places in that video?
  • 2 0
 @shredddr: think there under the chair lift
  • 41 6
 I was asked the same thing by a morbidly obese neurosurgeon on my last check up and cat scan after breaking my c6, and c7. Why are you going to risk riding again? Because it’s who we are and what makes us whole! I bet he will have another cheeseburger after his first heat attack too.
  • 52 0
 my neuro was a hockey player, and said his goal was to get me back on the bike ASAP. my kind of doc!
  • 3 2
 Haha!!! this deserves more upvotes...I'm dead
  • 1 1
 @savagelake: my neuro said I should take walks around the mall, after screwing together my C5/6/7. Good dr. Lame advice.
  • 1 0
 It's not who we are underneath, but what we do that defines us.
  • 31 0
 This is some good news I needed to see.
  • 22 1
 Great job Christina! If you can survive the Hell of the Pinkbike comment section you can accomplish anything ☺ Your sincerity and genuine respect for our sport and its community truly shines through.

Congrats Bulldog on your continuing comeback!!! It's literally just a matter of time. You're an inspiration!!!
  • 14 1
 She did an excellent job with the interview. And Brook- cheers for your tenacity and positive attitude. Amazing!!!
  • 13 1
 So great to see Brook riding! Great interview Christina.
  • 9 0
 Brook’s “comfortable” speed = my “warp” speed, LOL!
  • 3 6
 Was thinking the same. Once the Wu-Flu has passed, I’m getting my game up
  • 6 0
 Brook is one of my favourites! I'm so happy to see him come so far in no time! Go Bulldog!
  • 3 0
 this just made my day, the journalist asked some good questions plus she got to follow him and gave a glimpse of what an incredible recovery he has made. Need to get some bulldog stickers!
  • 5 0
 What a great attitude! Cheers Bulldog!
  • 1 0
 So good to see Brook back on his bike. I went through something similar years ago and know how hard the road to recovery is. That feeling the first time you ride, especially when you go through times when you aren't even sure if or when you'll walk again, is just indescribable. On another note, anyone visiting Rotorua and tempted to ride at Skyline, particularly if time is limited, I would strongly recommend they don't bother unless they're really into flow trails or trails that are over in under 90 seconds. Whakarewarewa forest just blows Skyline out of the water in my opinion.
  • 1 0
 Hey Brook,

Been a mild fan of yours since I got into DH. Gotten to see your personality a bit more (i mostly just watch the WC races) since your injury and I'm a big fan now. Good luck slaying whatever season we have this year. We're all rooting for a bulldog win more than ever.
  • 4 0
 On the mend , best wishes
  • 4 0
 Great to see you back Brook. You are a true inspiration.
  • 2 0
 That was awesome, all if it. In this time of uncertainty it’s good know people can get through incredibly difficult situations and come out smiling and riding.
  • 4 1
 Very likeable and watchable interviewer. Quality Christina! Good Luck Brook!
  • 4 0
 Thanks for this PB! Needed some smiles today. Great interview!
  • 1 0
 Happy to see he is able to ride! However consider, that aside from a helmet there is no evidence that other gear protects a rider from any injury that is blunt force or any thing more than some abrasions.
  • 1 0
 Brook, thanks for doing you. You're a motivator and an incredible ambassador for what you've gone through. Strong willed and determination on the other end of something that can be life threatening.

Matā kai kutu
  • 2 0
 I went through a similar injury with my spine, it’s taken years but still riding. Good luck Brook.
  • 1 0
 Have only admired him as a rider but even more impressed with him as a person now as well. Good luck and looks like you will have extra time this year to heal those bones.
  • 3 0
 His back on the bike speed is my peak season
  • 2 0
 Damn-so good to see this! Amazing progress!
  • 2 0
 Favorite rider to watch charging down the mtn
  • 2 0
 Great to see Brook back on the bike again!
  • 2 0
 Great news! Take your time Brook and have fun.
  • 1 0
 A recovery like this in 8 months? Inspiration for athletes everywhere! Fingers crossed for Croatia. You are the man ????
  • 1 0
 awesome work mentality and strenght, rooting to the bulldog from Madrid Big Grin
  • 2 0
 What a boss
  • 2 0
 Absolute legend.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Good news.!
  • 3 5
 Are spine protectors required for UCI races, and was Brook wearing one during his crash?
  • 13 2
 It’s irrelevant whether he was wearing one, if you watch the footage you’ll see he went into a rather extreme flexion of the spine. Apparently it seems a similar thing did Martyn Ashton. When you fall on upper part of your back and younget covered with your legs, the sheer force of your legs and hips getting bending your spine can crack it. Plenty of bone fractures (like AC that Tahneesuffered last year) and joints damage results from compressing forces not blunt force.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: it literally doesn't get much more blunt than a compression fracture- but yes, exactly, there is unfortunately no protective clothing that prevents that sort of mechanism.

It was a shock, to see Brook injured in that way! It was and is an inspiration how and he and no less his girl friend handle that situation! From personal experience I know the latter is definitely not a given... . Can't wait to see Brook back racing DH again.
  • 1 0
 Pretty sure Brook has said multiple times he was wearing a back protector. Also remember Wyn saying the same when it first happened, and it was mandatory for MSA.
  • 2 2
 Undoubtedly, landing with your back on a rock can shatter a vertebrae, a back protector can also (to some degree) prevent puncturing your inner organs if you land on branches sticking out of a fallen tree. No matter how unlikely it is please wear back protection when riding rough stuff, especially when competing in DH or Enduro. Backpacks are better than nothing but they are not as good as proper spine protector. Just don’t believe armor will solve your problems, it minimizes injuries, if you fk up enough, run out of luck, they make little difference. So make sure you don’t run out of motoric skill and talent before you run out of luck.
  • 1 0
 It's semantics. He suffered blunt force trauma which led to the mechanism of injury which was likely flexion which led to the compression fracture. To echo what WAKIdesigns said, while spine protectors do provide some degree of protection against direct impact to the spine, they may not adequately protect against the extreme flexion, extension, or rotation which leads to the devastating injuries of the spine. Your best protection is riding sensibly within your own limits.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Happy to see he is able to ride! However consider, that aside from a helmet there is no evidence that other gear protects a rider from any injury that is blunt force or any thing more than some abrasions.
  • 1 0
 @duplex: sorry I misunderstood the term blunt force... I meant direct hit, when something hits the bone and causes a fracture. Every thing layer of even remotely harder between bone (and few ligaments around it) and hard object, will diminish the chance of the bone shattering.
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