Video: Remy Metailler Shares Footage from Crash That Broke His Scapula

Sep 21, 2021
by Sarah Moore  


A couple of weeks ago, Remy Metailler was cruising a blue trail in the Whistler Bike Park when he made a small mistake, slid into a rock and ended up breaking his scapula.

bigquotesNot my worst injury but the most painful one probably. Really a bummer as I was feeling really good on the bike and had plenty of projects for the start of the fall. I'll be missing a couple trips in BC, the Proving Ground event and some more local plans I had. Good news is that I already feel better and should not be off the bike too long. Also I had been filming a lot before the crash so you should still have plenty of content to enjoy until I'm riding again.Remy Metailler

We're glad to see Remy is healing up well and look forward to see him back on the bike.


74 Comments

  • 48 3
 If you're like me (not in the medical fields and never have broken a bone) you're probably wondering: what's the scapula again? No, it's not a kitchen utensil.

It's your shoulder blade. A relatively flat triangular bone of decent surface area.

Along with your collarbone (clavicle) it connects your humerus (arm) to your rib cage and it kinda floats around, suspended mostly by ligaments and muscle outside your ribcage. Typical treatment is non-surgical immobilization.
  • 8 24
flag aljoburr (Sep 21, 2021 at 18:30) (Below Threshold)
 Tore mine & was difficult to ride my bike, but climbing & windsurfing was some how not a problem?
Was an interesting experience when nerves started growing back after 6 months & would twitch on its own!
  • 34 3
 @aljoburr: you tore your scapula? It's a bone...
  • 2 26
flag aljoburr (Sep 22, 2021 at 2:59) (Below Threshold)
 @charliewentoutside: Funny that you get up voted on dumb comment
Impact injury resulting in nerve damage, shoulder is a bone but you can dislocate it or separate it
So yes
  • 16 1
 @aljoburr: which specific bone is the shoulder?
  • 2 0
 Thank u doctor
  • 17 1
 @aljoburr: Tore your scap? And then the nerves grew back? Which planet in the Delta Quadrant to you hail from?
  • 6 0
 @Chuckolicious: the answer is scotch… he drank a ton of scotch and the nerves grew back… its called science..
  • 1 0
 @Chuckolicious: Not the same one as you that is for sure, did you not know nerves can grow back?
  • 17 0
 Broke mine last summer. Seems to be a break that basically only happens to mountain bikers and dirt bikers. It was def one of the most painful things I’ve experienced, my doc literally looked at the x-ray in front of me and said “wow, never seen that bone break that badly.” Knew i was in for a fun time and they basically can’t do surgery on scapulas so all you can do is wait for it to heal. Wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.
  • 3 0
 Same happened to me earlier this year, and again the doctor said I did a bloody good job at breaking it.
It did heal fast so that’s a big plus.
  • 3 0
 Broke mine about 5 years ago and tore a few of the ligaments around it, even after months of physio I still get pain in it now. I've broken so many bones I've lost count and the scapula was by far the worst.
  • 1 0
 Broke mine skiing. I also knocked myself out so I still don't know how it happened almost 7 years later. It was incredibly painful and depressing to be immobilized for a couple months. I did a lot of hiking during recovery.
  • 2 0
 Broken mine in 2010. It hurt bad. Couple weeks handicapped and impossible to even chance shirt. Healed allright, started physical rrehab after about 2-3 months and was back biking after about 6. Some clicking went on as well as discomfort.

On my other shoulder, I instead did a AC tear grade 4. Ie complete tear with dropped shoulder and the collarbone pointing upwards into the meck muscle. Needed surgeryewhich didnt go go plan. More pain and nerve pain than I wish on anyone.

Just wish my collarbones werent so strong and would break as intended instead. Far better injury. Wink
  • 1 0
 Broke mine this summer in July. I'm glad to say that it wasn't as bad as some of you describe. Only a partial fracture of the main body. Certainly the worst pain I've felt after an injury, but the healing went well. Back to 100 % in 8 weeks.
  • 1 0
 Fractures of the scapula happen quite frequently, often from falls, motor vehicle, and motorcycle accidents. A vast majority of them are treated with a brief period in a sling and then rehab. For the really bad ones, an orthopaedic surgeon will often consider surgery.
  • 16 0
 leatt has alot of lightweight armor, i dont even feel it, ive seen my buddies rag doll in the hybrid airfit and had traingle imprint/bruises next day, but got up and kept going, i was convinced my t shirt wasnt enough if im going to ride DH often. mtn creek is no joke
  • 2 0
 My Leatt armor saved me twice this weekend one of them a hard impact chest first on a stump... Got up and no injuries barely bruised. Yesterday one of the riders went too high on a soft corner and washed out, sent her face and chest first in the ground Her GoPro broke on the chest mount but her chest armor and chin bar saved her.
  • 8 0
 Shattered ( bits and pieces) my scapula on an otb at Silverstar. Used up an entire tank of nitros oxide in the ambulance ride to er. All the nurses and doctors on duty came to have a look because it’s a rare injury. Took 3 weeks to see an orthopaedic surgeon which turned out to be good thing as he said it had already healed otherwise he would have put in a plate.

With all the high consequence stuff Remy does it’s ironic that it was blue trail that got him.
  • 16 61
flag PACNW-MTB (Sep 21, 2021 at 17:31) (Below Threshold)
 Three weeks to see a surgeon? With a shattered scapula? Is that the norm for Canada's "great" socialized health care?
  • 21 0
 @PACNW-MTB: didn’t want too long of a post so left out some details.

In Canada you need to get a referral from a general practitioner to see a specialist. My referral got “lost” and I had to follow up and they had to send another referral. Probably should have been about 7 days to see the specialist.

Just as well as the orthopaedic surgeon said he would have operated and put in a plate but it healed on its own.

Didn’t have to a pay anything though.
  • 3 0
 @kingbike2: had the same crap happened when I separated my shoulder badly.

Waited and waited and waited for a referral or an appointment.

Nothing.

I ended up riding before hearing anything from ANY doctor, so just left it. Wasnt about to entertain surgery on it after months of healing.

Oh well, might have been a bad decision. We'll see long term.
  • 9 23
flag fullsend604 (Sep 21, 2021 at 18:12) (Below Threshold)
 @PACNW-MTB: Our healthcare is dog shit. Was quoted 6 months to a year for me to get an MRI performed on a L4-L5 disc herniation unless I pay $1000 to go private. I was in so much pain with right leg going numb I just paid the $1000 and got it done.
  • 16 2
 @PACNW-MTB: Broke mine last June and seen the surgeon that night. Didn't cost me a dime because of our great socialized healthcare.
  • 20 1
 @fullsend604: Or come to America and pay health care premiums and still pay $1500 for an MRI
  • 3 1
 @fullsend604: Interesting. I got an MRI on a knee in three days, $600 cash.
  • 1 1
 @fullsend604: do you really want an MRI on a disc herniation, other than as a pre surgery diagnostic? It’s normal to have to wait.

General approach is time and physio to see if symptoms clear up on their own, you really don’t want surgery unless there’s no other option… and they will want to wait a year to see if that happens anyway.
  • 1 0
 @gramboh: they use it before giving the life saving cortisone shot. Sometimes needs to be in the joint and sometimes the crevice around nerve. Depends.
  • 1 0
 @fullsend604: Wow, In Poland I paid like $200 for MRI or $300 with contrast ... and typically get it like in 7days (inc. description). Of course I could get one for free but would probably take months to get to the "free" specialist and get to the RMI.
  • 8 2
 @fullsend604: still better than paying $1000 / month every month for life just in case you need an MRI one day.
  • 2 0
 @PACNW-MTB: as a US citizen when I broke my scapula at Whistler my initial ER visit cost next to nothing as was my follow up ER visit the next day for concussion symptoms. I'm self employed and and can't really afford health insurance and I better be on deaths door of you think I'm going to our hospitals with their costs.
  • 2 0
 @kingbike2: @kingbike2: I broke my collarbone into 4 pieces some years ago on a Sunday afternoon after an unscheduled dismount off my superbike.

- Got my x-rays and a sling in a few hours.
- Called my doctor Morning and got an appointment right away.
- He got me an immediate appointment with the ortho surgeon at the hospital so I drive straight there
- Ortho surgeon looked over my x-rays and they booked me for surgery Weds morning
- Got my surgery done without issue
- Mowed the lawn the next day
  • 1 0
 Hold on.

I read different experiences from Canadians, why did some guys have immediate care and why other guys had to wait?

is there some Redtape involved in the system that if you don't have it up to date you are f$%ed or did the other guys just slacked on going to the doctor??

can someone explain?
  • 1 0
 @Narro2: the Canadian system doesn't have much capacity. Health care is provided in different regions and triaged according to need.

A scapula fracture for eg is immobilized and not treatable by surgery generally so it's probably triaged low. Some may get a specialist referral within a week. Some may take a month.

You can pay for diagnostics yourself though as others have mentioned.

I believe other universal care systems are very like this. I know Singapore, UK, Swiss, Norway also have similar waits and triage considerations
  • 1 1
 @leelau: ok that makes sense. Thanks

Considering that it looks like being privately insured is the best option, doesnt matter the nationality.
  • 1 0
 @Narro2: What's interesting is there's some nations that have mandated private insurance that is universal. Eg Netherlands or SG. Insurers can't deny service. The insurance is streamlined and pricing transparent through regulation. The administration/billings is partially through the government. So you have the private marketplace but the variety of offerings is limited through regulation.

These are very cost-effective with good service delivery and results at good cost. Unfortunately full government systems (Canada or UK) or full private light regulation systems (US) don't approach that level of results + low costs as any health care reform discussions tend to be politically toxic. So what you said "ooks like being privately insured is the best option, doesnt matter the nationality" has the basis of a good discussion; but there is a big gray area and lots of room to tweak public regulation vs private marketplace. But it's difficult to have that conversation due to interests being so entrenched
  • 1 0
 @leelau: yep agreed
  • 2 0
 @Narro2: Triage situation. If the ER physician determines it's a regular scapula fracture, the likelyhood of surgery is basically zero, so you're not rushed to see an ortho. Still, the turn around to see one of the busiest in Canada for me was about a week.

If the ER physician thinks it's particularly bad, they'll bump you up in the queue and have you see an ortho within a day or two - maybe less.

It's a good system and it keeps things running efficiently, but it functions based on the assessments of the initial attending physician, who can make mistakes. So not perfect - but then nothing is.
  • 6 0
 Broke mine the last few days of February this year - vertical break. ER doc said the same thing as above - only ever sees these from car accidents. Mine was an out of control (riding fat bikes in icy/grooved trail conditions) hit into a tree - basically the tree hit full frontal from my shoulder down to my knee and the force broke the scapula at the back through the shoulder. I also totally compressed my wrist (deeply sprained) in the crash as my handlebar hit the tree at my hand first.

Mine was very painful but easy enough to immobilize so that I really didn't notice it after the first few days of healing. I took the doctor's orders for six weeks before hitting the bike seriously - shoulder was mostly good after 3 weeks, wrist took closer to 10-12 weeks to heal properly and I still can't do push-ups properly yet.

Worst part was driving myself home after the accident - I felt up to it for sure but it sure felt like a long ways from West Bragg to my place, especially when I couldn't shift or hold the wheel with my right hand (had to crouch in to grab the wheel with the right without moving my shoulder at all, then reach over with my left hand and shift - I drove most the trip in 4th gear so I didn't have to shift).

Heal up Remy, scapula's seem to heal fast as long as you don't push it too hard.
  • 3 0
 Looks like you are on your way to a speedy recovery already. That's great. Can't wait to see you in action again dude. Your videos are really inspiring. When I type "absolute control" on google, your face pops up on the results. Take care dude.
  • 3 1
 Ouch. At speed, things can go bad fast :/.

The upside is that there is no surgery required... that is unfortunately also the downside.

Anyone know if Remy was wearing any sort of back/spine protector? Or if that sort of device would even help? I know some have a bit wider shape at the top to help with that, but maybe not enough for this purpose?
  • 2 1
 From the comments on the YT Video:

LowBr4in: "hi Rémy, did you wear a back protector when you crashed?"
Rémy Métailler: "The one time I did not..."

Eoin Kane: "Do you think wearing body armour would have helped stop the brake?"
Rémy Métailler: "Possibly, not sure. I impacted on the side"

Jidoe Blaster: "Curious to know if you were wearing back protection, and if not do you think back protector would have helped in this situation? I almost always wear my POC bag with back protector and I think it’s helped me a couple times with these types of falls"
Rémy Métailler: "I normally always run a protection unless I'm. really just cruising. I did not that day..."
  • 3 0
 Rotator cuff tear on blue velvet 5 years ago (actually saw Remy that same week) then scapula break at Snowshoe two months back. Crazy amount of pain and should know better at 57 but still itching to get back on the bike.
  • 1 0
 Broken scapula is no joke. I snapped mine clean in two right in the middle when my chain skipped while sprinting down the street. Been two years and it still aches on cold damp days. I can remember the “pop” it made when I hit the ground too. Easily the most painful injury I’ve had.
  • 1 0
 I broke my left scapula in June, it smashed into about 4 pieces. luckily only the bone was damaged and no tendons, ligaments or muscles. There was no surgery necessary and after like 6 weeks the bone was back healed. Had to do a ton of execise to regain all strength stability and movement patterns, starting at week 2 or so. Now about 3.5 moths later I am able to bike again, do handstandwalks and stuff like that.
  • 1 0
 Broke mine last November 28th into 3 pieces as well as first rib and 3 other ribs. Worst pain of any breakage I have had a d I have had many. Remy has been very lucky with his injury for sure as it could be a whole lot worse. A few weeks in and I had very little movement. I set the target of being back racing and as healthy as possible for the 2021 season. Just about managed that although was not up to speed. Only just about up to speed now and there is only 1 race left next weekend!
  • 1 0
 Lucky. All the stuff he "was lucky to avoid" happened to me. Shattered scapula, hit head, broke ribs and grade 2 AC separation. Going on 5 months off the bike now due to subsequent complications (adhesive encapsulitis). Dude got lucky, with this being his source of income.
  • 1 0
 I broke my scapula as well and found that keeping my hand in my pocket was better than a sling. Prevented it from swinging out and kept a natural bend. It was also easier to keep the shoulder in a more back/natural posture rather than pulling it forward.
Nevertheless my shoulder and neck have never been the same.
Best on your healing.
  • 1 0
 Broke clavicle and scapula together last fall. The orthopedist said it was an injury he sees in motor vehicle accidents mostly, but it does seem to happen to a fair number of mtbers.
  • 1 0
 My buddy did the exact same thing on our morning ride last week.

I'm not sure the extent of the broken scapula, but the clavicle was in three pieces and was pretty close to compound (I could see the sharp point of one piece sticking in the wrong direction) when they cut his shirt off.

He fell on the flat bottom run out from a pretty steep rock slab roller, inexperienced guy but he'd done it with me before...

Still impossible not to feel somehow responsible, since I got him into the sport and he's been trying to keep pace. It was a good lesson (for me that is.... gotta be careful for your friends... we'll be stopping to chat before the serious features in the future).

Thankfully he got in to see an orthopedic surgeon the next day.

Saving grace: his helmet was also broken, but concussion was only minor.

Hope you recovered well!
  • 3 0
 Broke mine on a flat turn last year and it wasn't fun. The frozen should that came afterwards was even worse that the break.
  • 1 0
 Had the frozen shoulder after an AC joint injury. Lots of overhead presses and pull ups loosened it up.
  • 3 0
 Stubbed my toe on a corner unit going for a gypsys kiss. Never known pain like it.
  • 2 0
 Try pushing it in the wrongun, dry, after a few cans of carling, that’s pain.
  • 2 0
 @crazy9: Yow is one sick mofo. Old Remdog needs a new string bag for those onions not the fromage from under ya foskin
  • 1 0
 Managed to get an MRI of mine - picture looks scary, but I thought the pain was OK (at least compared to when I dislocated my hip...)

www.pinkbike.com/photo/21354757
  • 3 0
 Cue a bunch of "I broke my .... bone and it took x weeks to get better and it was even more painful than yours" comments
  • 3 1
 broke my scapula this summer Remy, was back on the bike after about 5 weeks. Heal up!
  • 1 1
 Musta been barley broken or a hairline. No way we’re doing any sort of riding other than pedaling at 5 weeks
  • 1 0
 @freeridejerk888: yep it was a minor crack at the top. no surgery or anything needed.
  • 2 0
 Broke my scapula earlier this year, along with shoulder dislocation. Can confirm it’s a very painful break.
  • 3 0
 Riding loose always catches up with you.
  • 2 0
 Legendary, going home to make a healthy dinner and get good sleep, just look at what this guy does on a bike
  • 2 1
 Who should shoulder the blame for that crash?

Get well soon. Broken bones are much better to have than soft tissue in most cases.
  • 4 0
 Snapped my banjo string.
  • 2 0
 don;t give injured people water or snacks, bad idea, can induce shock and hamper later surgery!
  • 1 0
 Wonder if he was wearing a back protector. Sometimes I feel like they are unnecessary, but maybe it would’ve saved him from breaking a bone.
  • 2 0
 Sending positive vibes to one of my favorite riders!
  • 1 0
 I broke mine a few years ago. On the flattest part of the trail. Definitely does not tickle. Sneezing about killed me dead.
  • 1 0
 Tore my pec muscle off my arm at Whistler. Took a year to get back to normal.
  • 2 0
 Wonder if a hydration pack with a back protector would have helped.
  • 1 0
 "What you could have done different?" You could've landed 6" more to the right.
  • 1 0
 That’s a hard one to break… so if you break it it’s a bad crash. Heal well.
  • 1 0
 Now, everybody knows we all gots two of them, right?.....................

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