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|X Games vert vet Jay Eggleston is verbal, moving, and showing some of his signature sense of humor.|
BMX vert veteran Jay Eggleston has been diagnosed with a "shear" traumatic brain injury after his crash last month at the Dew Tour's Pantech Open in Ocean City, Md. and is recovering at Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital in Aurora, Colo., according to his wife Melissa Eggleston.
"Jay's a fighter and he's working hard," Melissa says. "We're hopeful that he'll make a full recovery and he's looking forward to getting back on his bike, but there are so many variables. Thank God he was wearing a full-face helmet or it could have been much worse: He doesn't have any of the swelling that can really complicate brain injuries. He's always been a strong advocate for full-face helmets, especially on the vert ramp."
His injuries include the shearing of delicate connective brain tissue near the thalamus, an area associated with sensory perception and movement, but he appears to be making promising progress through the stages of recovery and rehabilitation, according to his wife. He is verbal, moving, and showing some of his signature sense of humor -- all good signs after he was knocked unconscious in the crash on July 23 -- but will have a long road ahead on his way to rehabilitation.
|Eggleston stretches a classic no-handed at the Old School BMX Reunion last year.|
"I didn't know anything about brain injuries before this happened, but I'm getting a crash course now," Melissa says. "The part I struggle with the most is the unknown: There's nothing they can guarantee, so we're just doing everything we can and trying to stay positive. Because those connectors were damaged, he has to re-learn how to do just about everything."
Eggleston is expected to be at the rehabilitation hospital for a total of at least 60 days. "Our mission is rebuilding lives and renewing hope," says Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital spokeswoman Julia Cowan. "That's carried through every day in what we do to maximize recovery for our brain injury patients."
Visitation at the hospital is restricted, but Melissa says the family can accept cards through the hospital's address at 900 Potomac Street, Aurora, CO 80011, where he'll be through at least September. She has been posting regular updates on his condition for his family, friends, and fans at CarePages.com.
"We're so thankful to everybody in the action sports community," Melissa says, noting that Jay was happy to hear he was getting shoutouts from his friends during the BMX coverage from X Games 17. "All the love and support has definitely had an impact on Jay."
Eggleston's fans can help support him in several ways, in addition to sending cards:
-- The Athlete Recovery Fund has set up a site for PayPal donations specifically marked for Eggleston's rehabilitation. "We're looking forward to a full recovery from Jay and we're excited to see him improving and getting better day by day," says ARF executive director Aaron Cooke. "We want to make sure he doesn't sacrifice any care or rehabilitation therapy opportunities for lack of funds once his insurance coverage runs out."
|'Evil' Jay Eggleston bracelets are now available through the Lip Lords Facebook page for $5 each.|
-- Terry Boyd, a longtime member of Denver's Lip Lords BMX crew -- where Eggleston is known by the nickname "Evil Jay" -- is selling green "Keep Fighting: Evil Jay Eggleston" bracelets for $5 through the Lip Lords Facebook page to help support the family through his rehabilitation process (Eggleston's wife is a high school teacher in Littleton, Colo. and the couple has a five-month old daughter). Denver-based Casey Dean Cycles is also collaborating with Solid Bikes to create two custom BMX frames for a benefit auction. "A lot of people out here are trying to help Jay out any way we possibly can," Boyd says. "I think anybody who touches a BMX bike in Denver looks up to Jay. He's always out there at the parks and at all the contests and he's always been somebody the younger kids can look up to."
-- Pusher BMX, Eggleston's Denver shop sponsor, is hosting a Jay Eggleston Jam fundraiser event for him on August 20 from 5-7 p.m. at the Railbender Skatepark in Parker, Colo., where they will be selling benefit items and holding a benefit auction. "Jay's a legend around here," says Pusher BMX owner Clay Brown, who grew up riding with Eggleston. "He helped build the BMX scene in Colorado through the Lip Lords shows and he helped put our scene on the map by sticking with the contest route, and we're going to do everything we can to support him while he recovers." Eggleston, an X Games competitor since 1999, has also been a regular on the Dew Tour and in just about every other BMX vert series over the last decade.