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Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The tale of Brian Hunt's broken scapula


Brian Hunt in Shanghai, China, after breaking his right scapula in practice at X Games Asia 2012.

During BMX Street practice in X Games Asia on April 27, DK Bicycles/Orchid Footwear pro Brian Hunt was casually messing around on the street course (he was invited to ride vert) when he fell and broke his right scapula bone. Hunt, 27, was attended to by the medical staff, and taken to the hospital with a translator.

After X-rays, some back and forth about surgery in a Shanghai area hospital and $150 USD payment from Brian for treatment, Hunt was allowed to leave the hospital with a new cast -- a plaster cast applied over the same t-shirt he had been wearing while riding the same day. The cast wrapped around his torso, over his shoulder and held his right arm in place.

Through the wonders of modern technology, fellow X Games competitor Kevin Robinson emailed Hunt's X-rays to friend and orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Chao in San Diego, Calif. Dr. Chao scheduled Hunt for an appointment the following week. In the meantime, Brian was stuck in China, attempting to change his airline reservation so he could fly home earlier. After phone calls being dropped, Skype calls being dropped, and an insane price quote from the airlines to change the reservation, Brian made the decision to weather the injury in Shanghai for a few days.

Brian Hunt making the best of a bad situation in Shanghai.

He visited the Oriental Pearl Tower, hung out with fellow X Games competitors and checked out greater downtown Shanghai, in a huge plaster cast and the same t-shirt he had been wearing since his fall in practice. He made the best of a bad situation -- something not many of us would be able to take in stride under a dirty t-shirt and plaster cast with a broken shoulder blade in a foreign country.

Three days later, on April 30, Brian Hunt returned to the U.S., and with the help of DK teammate Drew Bezanson, cut the cast off. "Let Drew cut my cast off. So happy he didn't stab me," said Hunt via Twitter. "Then immediately regretted it and put it back on. My elbow also isn't feeling too hot."

Drew Bezanson, makeshift orthopedic surgeon.

After several doctor visits, more X-rays and an MRI, Brian Hunt went in for surgery on the morning of May 7 to secure his scapula with two plates, and is now recovering on Anthony Napolitan's couch in Costa Mesa, Calif., with help from the Athlete Recovery Fund.

Scapula fractures are not a typical BMX injury, and Brian Hunt will likely require some physical therapy to get back on his bike. Though broken bones are part of the BMX game, I like to think that there's a bigger lesson to be learned with regards to Brian Hunt's last two weeks. In what would've been his first X Games appearance on vert, Brian crashed on a barspin having fun on the street course and was forced to sit out the contest. A lot of people would've been crushed at this turn of events, but Brian Hunt returned from the hospital with a smile on his face and proceeded to have as much fun as he possibly could in a foreign country with his friends.

Or as Brian said last week: "Life is funny sometimes but you just gotta take it in stride."