An Update from Dan Paley After His Huge Crash at Darkfest 2024

Feb 12, 2024 at 10:38
by Sarah Moore  
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Dan Paley had a horrific crash during the final day at Darkfest in South Africa and is currently in hospital in South Africa. The crash left Dan with a compound tib/fib fracture, a broken radius and a broken finger. A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover his medical bills.

bigquotesI’m doing alright, I’m in good hands. Not the ending to Darkfest that I wanted or that anyone wanted for that matter at anytime in their life. Just how the game goes. I just seem to get a serious injury every five years or something, having broken my knee and then my ankle and then just above my ankle again. I basically did what Conor Macgregor did to his leg when he fought Justin Poirier and he snapped his tib and fib just above the ankle, but mine was compounded as well which means the bone was sticking out of the skin, which was pretty horrible. I’m sure Joel Anderson will tell you the same, because the same happened to him.

I’m in South Africa still, I’ve had a cage put around my ankle and apparently I can put walk on it in a couple day and put weight through it

I broke my wrist as well, I think pulled a bit of ligament off my radius which needs screwing back on. Broke my finger on my right hand as well which I’ve had pinned back. So I’m two thirds fixed, just waiting for my wrist to get sorted and then I’ll be getting a flight back ome to the UK. And I’ll do my rehab at home.

I don’t really know what the future holds for me now. I’m sure once I start healing a little bit more I’ll be getting a bit more motivated, but at the moment I’m pretty scared. I don’t know what the future holds for me right now. I’d like to think that I could carry this on, but I just don’t know if I can go through this again, it’s f***ing tough. And I know it’s been f***ing tough before with my ankle and my knee. I’d just like to think I can just carry on and keep the fight going, but I just don’t know. Just feeling weird about everything and how it’s going to be in a few months, because huge injuries do change you physically and mentally. So we’ll see.

Just want to say thanks to everyone, thanks for all the kind messages. I’ve not been able to respond to any of them just because I’ve been so out of it on morphine, but thank you for the kind messages of support. Thank you to my friends, thank you to my family and thank you to everyone at Darkfest, Sam Reynolds, Colin and Ryan Franklin, thank you for involving me in this. It’s been unreal, despite this crash.

I’m going to do my best to pull through this and I’m going to do my best f***king get back there. But thank you guys, honestly thank you. And thank you Vero Sandler for setting that GoFundMe up. I honestly don’t think I deserve it, I’m stupid for not having insurance. But that’s because I can’t get professional extreme sports insurance for travelling. I should have life insurance, but I know that now. But thank you Vero for hooking that up, big love. And again, thank you to everyone for the words of support and everything. Hopefully I’ll be back.
Dan Paley

We wish Dan all the best with his recovery.

Dan Paley won Best Whip at Darkfest.

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Member since Mar 30, 2011
1,342 articles

  • 80 0
 The poor guy just sounded like he needs a big hug
  • 12 1
 And another nip of morphine to keep the high rolling (that stuff is unbelievably excellent when you're in a fair bit of pain - I can see why folks find it a bit moreish!)
  • 7 5
 He needs to think a bit more like Gee Atherton. He’d be re-habbing and looking for the next cliff to huck off
  • 5 1
 @Tambo: Yes and then it becomes your Master. Funny - my last trip to the ER a few years back for a broken radius, they gave me Fentanyl which was some super dope. It wore off and I drove 6 hours home alone over the tallest mountain range in California. but I digress. Cool that I saw Ratboy's name on the GFM donor list and heal up quick Dan!!!
  • 2 0
 @suspended-flesh: I bet. That stuff makes all the problems go away.
  • 2 0
 @Tambo: I was pumped full of the good stuff after an operation a few years ago, I asked for my phone and responded to all the goodwill messages. When I came round a bit later, I had no recollection until I looked at my messages again, I was clearly off my face Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @korev: I think Dan may have a similar experience with this message lol
  • 2 0
 My favorite color is ham
  • 2 0
 emotions run crazy in an injury like this, what does'nt help is adreniline an hormones flowing around your body cos of the crash/injury. Then when you get to hospital an your first 'aaaaand relax' moment they flood in waves! I was crying like a little girl after breaking my wrist. Asked the nurses why I felt fine but crying my eyes out an this is what they told me anyway :'D
  • 1 1
  • 3 0
 @enduroNZ: He's been at the very top of the BMX street riding scene for many many years and this is just the latest in a line of harsh injuries .. I would not blame him if he decided to give it a rest .. he's taken some brutal slams direct to concrete over the years and that's got to takes its toll .. he's a legend in BMX .. wish him all the best
  • 3 0
 @suspended-flesh: you should come and get treatment in Norway. Apart from being free, there seems to a lack of belief in painkillers. I came off my road bike on ice and ripped my knee open to the joint. I got a couple of numbing injections, they thought i was a pussy cos I didn’t want to watch the surgery and to cap it off they said i was a total pussy when my heart almost stopped from a reaction to the antibiotic drip…when home a few hours later.
  • 4 0
 @Monkeyass: No wonder y'all invented Black Metal. I'll opt for drugs, thank you very much.
  • 4 0
 @Monkeyass: small wonder it's free! lol

I had a hernia op with local anaesthetic...the rummaging sensation freaks me out, and the smell of my own cauterized blood is another mind f***. Not recommended...but it meant I got it done with a month wait instead of 3.
  • 13 0
 Sending healing vibes to Dan. Definitely a brutal recovery to endure. Wishing him the best!

On the insurance topic, has anyone tried Spot insurance? They advertise a lot to skiers and snowboarders and it seems like it’s designed for action sports folk. Maybe it’s for US residents only, not sure.
  • 1 0
 I have spot ins. and have recommended it to a few people, but it doesnt seem like they are taking new folks on anymore. (?) I heard they are just doing addons for snowboarding packages now.
  • 1 0
 I don't have spot but I do have short term disability insurance, long term disability insurance, accident insurance, and life insurance. It's annoying paying for all that but I've been hurt enough to know it's worth it when you need it.
  • 1 0
 I have spot, you can only get it through Blister+ now. They SUCK to deal with but they will pay your medical bills in full after you email them 10 times and provide a bunch of random and ever changing documents. Has paid for itself 10x over for me personally. Only takes like 2 xrays to pay it off for a few years.
  • 2 0
 @plustiresaintdead: I had Spot also and they did pay out for all my out of pocket expenses when I broke my wrist when I had a high deductible health plan. It did take some time and paperwork. The organization I got Spot through stopped offering it a few years later due to a high number of claims. You can still get Spot through USA Cycling but it is a lot more expensive. I now have a better low deductible HMO health plan. If I still had the high deductible plan I would spend the money for Spot. I've broken 3 bones in 30 years of racing 15+ events per year and doing a lot of riding both on and off road. Even if you are very careful the odds are not in your favor if you ride a lot. All it takes is sliding out in a loose corner and landing a bit funny. A trip to urgent care, a few x-rays, and PT add up in hurry. Add in any surgery and you are out $$$ in a hurry.
  • 11 0
 These riders are a bad crash away from losing their lively hood. I hope he heals quickly and his sponsors have his back while he recovers.
  • 7 0
 Word of advice - make sure you check the fine print on any insurance policy when travelling for more extreme sports ii.e., mtb, climbing, back country skiing, etc. Most policies do not cover these activities. I had to purchase additional insurance through World Nomads. Cost wasn’t too bad in the end for the piece of mind.
  • 4 0
 I hope that he makes a full recovery, not having insurance is quite surprising thought, not only from the riders perspective but from the organisers duty of care to the riders taking part in the event. I know he said he couldnt get insurance, that suggests all riders are not insured!!! I would not think that this is the case. Maybe the insurance is prohibitively expensive for some riders budgets.
We can go on a riding holiday abroad and one of the prerequisites to ride with that company is to have the relevant level of insurance.
There are some big sponsors for Darkfest, hopefully insisting on riders being insured before they take to their course is a prerequisite in the future. I would think that the riders have to sign some sort of waiver before riding to protect the sponsors/organiser or land owner from any legal action post crash!
  • 11 6
 Hope he heals up quick, but what’s with the go fund me thing, surely you’d have insurance in place for this very situation?
  • 5 1
 You’d be surprised how many people don’t have insurance… he says he doesn’t in their quote. Tough situation to be in. Healing vibes.
  • 11 3
 "I honestly don’t think I deserve it, I’m stupid for not having insurance. But that’s because I can’t get professional extreme sports insurance for travelling."

Shoulda gone with Airbnb travel insurance.
  • 5 14
flag wolftwenty1 FL (Feb 12, 2024 at 12:25) (Below Threshold)
 I thought UK had national healthcare...still need insurance?
  • 8 0
 @wolftwenty1: dont think he can get back to the uk until hes had surgery in South africa
  • 4 0
 @wolftwenty1: It would cover this kind of thing if it happened in his home country. When you travel for sports stuff you generally buy a form of extra insurance and for non-pro athletes it's like $35 bucks for a week or two trip. I suppose it could be a whole other thing if you're trying to get insurance for this kind of specific event.
  • 2 0
 @TrevZ: Makes sense. FWIW...all my WBP clinic visits have been reimbursed with no special insurance. Had to pay on the spot but then submitted a claim and got a check back.
  • 7 0
 @wolftwenty1: Darkfest is in South Africa. Treatment is covered if it happens in the the UK, also free if you can make it home without needing a hospital trip. Bone yourself on 'holiday' and it's on you...
  • 4 0
 @wolftwenty1: Treatment is free in the UK and if you apply for a GHIC card you can get free treatment in any EU country, Norway, Switzerland and Australia and some others.

Doesn't cover South Africa, the US or Canada.

I believe it doesn't cover stuff like an airlift or repatriation after an accident - only the treatment inside the hospital. The NHS picks up the bill for that.
  • 5 0
 For insurance that covers taking part in an organized event it is unlikely that travel insurance will cover it. This is what we have sporting associations for, who can use money from membership dues and the buying power of a large membership to negotiate affordable rates to cover the added risk.
British cycling members can purchase travel insurance that specifically covers events at a discounted rate for example.
Any UCI sanctioned events require proof of insurance to take part I believe. Whether an event like DarkFest should require similar proof is a question I’ve seen asked, or is it enough to say you are all adults (and most likely professionals) making an adult decision.
When I used to travel the world for months of the year rock climbing I had a year long policy through the British Mountaineering Council that specifically covered the activity, helicopter rescue etc along with all the usual travel related insurance.
  • 9 7
 Yeah, I had a similarly large accident two years ago that I had to pay for private surgery for my hip and my shoulder, and I never in 1 million years thought about a go fund me. I wish the guy the best, but entering a competition like this without any safety net for medical problems it's hard to have sympathy.
  • 7 9
 @skiandmtbdirtbag: Bro. Try. It's not that hard. Also there are a lot of crypto bros who donate to these because they are looking to spend their free stonk money to help people. Also I saw Nicholi Rogatkin donated EU 500, What a guy. Be like that guy a fraction more.
  • 7 4
 @suspended-flesh: I am not even sure what your point is....Would you like me to send you an excel sheet of all the donations I have made to worthy causes this past 12 months?

At the end of the day, it's silly to enter a contest like darkfest/rampage/hardline completely vulnerable to financial hardship if you hurt yourself (which is not exactly unlikely). You think Gee atherton didn't have insurance when he totalled him self at rampage last year ??
  • 5 6
 @skiandmtbdirtbag: Extreme athletes are not risk-averse - by nature. He used stronger terms than Silly to describe his choices. The accident happened so why bother going all Dad-lecture on him? Help or don't. A Google Sheet will suffice.
  • 3 4
 @suspended-flesh: Wow, how you managed to get that much condescension with so few words is impressive. No, extreme athletes are not risk adverse, I would suggest most people that are on this site also arent. Risk adverse and then having no plan in place if you hurt yourself are two very different things.
  • 5 3
 @suspended-flesh: Oh and instead of a google sheet here is 10k I raised for heart and stroke foundation. -

Anything else ?
  • 1 0
 @tom666: interesting. Not sure why the downvotes…was a legit question.
  • 1 0
 @tom666: unfortunately GHIC only covers you for very basic medical care, things like tooth ache, sickness.
Surgery for any kind of accident will cost you, so you should always have suitable insurance and not rely on GHIC.
  • 1 0
 @stevocxt: I don't think that's right

"EHIC or GHIC, you can get emergency or necessary medical care for the same cost as a resident in the country you’re visiting. This means that you can get healthcare at a reduced cost or for free"

If you just crashed your bike and got air lifted I think that would qualify as both an emergency and necessary and I'm pretty sure that's the kind of thing that is covered. Whereas a general check-up or elective surgery/treatment wouldn't be covered.
  • 1 0
 @tom666: I have a friend that last year crashed in morzine and busted his shoulder. He was charged for an x-ray. A few years back a different friend busted his shin, he was also charged for an x-ray and stitches. Both injuries were in France and as soon as they mentioned riding bikes they were both told they wouldn't be seen unless they paid. Could just be unscrupulous doctors charging when they shouldn't but that's been my first hand experience. I'd never go anywhere without the correct insurance.
I'm also pretty certain I've read a few different stories regarding airlifting bikers and skiers off mountains and they've had very, very hefty bills, circa £15k+, to pay for when they got home.
  • 2 0
 @stevocxt: Agree you still need insurance. I always buy insurance when we go to Morzine, costs about £100 for anybody who is interested. I believe a lot of the small A&Es in ski resorts are private rather than state-owned (so you can't use GHIC there) which is likely why your friends got charged for x-ray and stitches. They would have to take you way outside of Morzine to go to a big state-owned hospital to use your GHIC.

I have an Australian friend who broke his Neck in Morzine without insurance and he didn't get charged for the treatment at the big hospital, only for the air-lift off the hill.
  • 2 0
 Just donated to the GoFundMe, took 1 minute. For all the real riders out there, take the $10 dollars you were planning on spending on beer today and donate the proceeds to helping out Dan. Regardless of your personal perspective, real life has consequences. Sometimes these consequences are bigger than expected and require the assistance of good people. Big up's to Dan for pursuing his dream and pushing the limits on 2-wheels!
  • 2 0
 I have totally sports insurance thay payed up when I broke my scapular arm and ribs all you need is a copy of the xrays and hospital number .its 20 quid a covers for events and normal day to day injuries.
  • 5 1
 That's a gnarly injury! Hope he has a fast recovery.
  • 1 0
 forgive my ignorance on the insurance issue but, surley the event would insure the riders?? especially an event like this......
  • 2 0
 I guess then the event's insurers would then control what the riders can/can't do; for events like Darkfest, Rampage etc this would neuter and probably kill the event.

I think it'd be wise to make medical / evacuation insurance mandatory for competitors though
  • 2 1
 "A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover his medical bills" - what did I just read?!
  • 1 0
 Poor fella. Not a moment for the public eye if it weren't for the extra help funds he may have go his way. Sheesh.
  • 1 0
 Brutal injury. Great to see all the big dogs pulling together to help Dan out on the Go Fund Me page.
  • 1 0
 The Gofundme already being completed is one of the coolest things I've seen. Hope ha speedy recovery to the man.
  • 21 24
 Definitely twisting the truth saying he "can't get insurance as a pro-rider" , he's basically suggesting every pro-rider at the Fest is riding without insurance, which I can't see being true.
That being said, I'm sure it's an expensive policy and I can almost see why some people will take the risk. Unfortunately it didn't pay off on this occasion, but hey - can always rely on other people's hard-earned money on a gofundme as a backup.
  • 15 5
 He said he couldn't. How's that twisting the truth? Do you know his truth?
  • 6 2
 @onemanarmy: i mean there is only the truth and not truth, there's no 'his truth'. I don't know what's true or not, but I'll be very surprised if the events like rampage, dark fest, hardline don't have insurance policies available. Otherwise gee would be up for hundreds of thousands of dollars after his last crash.
  • 5 2
 Not every MTBer is able to get insurance. Private insurance isn't cheap...
  • 1 0
 Don't you have free healthcare in the UK? Or if not free, way more reasonable than here(USA).
  • 1 0
 The people that can get insurance don't need it The people that need insurance cant get it
  • 3 0
 @Radbill: We do, but it's very limited once you're out of the country. Then you need insurance.
  • 1 1
 @skiandmtbdirtbag: There is though. He said he couldn't get it. He didn't say it wasn't available. Why he couldn't is his own business. We don't have a right to information. We like to pretend like we do. But we don't. Maybe he couldn't afford it. Maybe it was a last minute deal and he couldn't line it up in time. Maybe he's got a preexisting issue. Who freaking knows.... that's HIS TRUTH. He said he couldn't. He couldn't.

UK has health coverage when in country. When out of country you're somewhat covered. But things like surgeries, transports, etc. Most of that stuff, you need private insurance. And it's not cheap.

Most of these guys are not factory riders or riding for companies that provide them with insurance. So they have to purchase private insurance. This isn't your standard 9-5 gig where you get a 401k, dental and vision. And most of these guys aren't making millions of dollars.
  • 1 1
 @onemanarmy: Dude take your oprah winfrey "my truth' nonsense elsewhere. Any time I have raced overseas or ridden on a tour I have had to get insurance. Is it cheap? no. Is it cheaper that a heli lift.....yup.
If anything shame on the organisation for letting a rider compete without insurance.
  • 1 0
 thats a gnarly injury, wishing the man the best!!
  • 2 2
 any video of the crash ?
  • 1 1
 Hundreds. Uploading vids to the Gram was the solely purpose of this competition.

Just joking?

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