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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Ryan Metro needs back surgery

By Brian Tunney
ESPN.com

Ryan Metro is seeking donations to help pay for surgery for a ruptured disc in his lower back.

Close to a decade ago, on a Props MegaTour video trip, Louisville, Ky. resident Ryan Metro, then a member of the Metal Bikes and S-luck Clothing teams, fell backwards on a missed double peg stall. Metro fell over four feet to his tailbone, and ruptured a disc in his lower back.

Metro, now a member of the United Bike Co., Dan's Comp and S-luck Clothing pro teams, continues to live with the ruptured disc many years later, and the accompanying pain. He managed to release a full section in the 2010 United video "This is United," but his time on the bike is very limited due to the ongoing pain associated with the injury.

The discs of the spine act as shock absorbers for the various pressures put on the back and neck daily. When a disc ruptures, the outer layer breaks open and pushes out the disc's shock absorbing, jellylike material. When this occurs, pressure can be put on nerve roots exiting the spinal cord or on the spinal cord itself, causing pain and other disabling symptoms.

Ryan Metro has insurance, but because the injury existed before he applied for insurance, it was considered a pre-existing injury. That means that his insurance has not covered the $10,000 plus he has spent on steroid spinal injections, physical therapy, x-rays, MRIs and pain medication.

Currently, Metro is resorting to other options, including surgery to repair the disc. Unfortunately, because of the pre-existing condition tenet, his insurance will not cover the costs. "The surgery is gonna cost me $9,951, as long as everything goes smooth. The recovery time is six weeks to three months. That means that I might be out of work on top of the costs of the surgery," says Metro.

Metro paired with BMX friend Kurt Yaeger to produce a video urging for donations to help pay for the surgery. The video exhibits Metro's crash, and urges viewers to help Metro pay for the surgery so he can continue to ride BMX.

Yaeger, who played Greg The Peg on the FX television series 'Sons of Anarchy,' understands the importance of injured friends in need. In 2006, he was involved in a motorcycle accident which broke his pelvis, seven vertebrae and required the amputation of his left leg below the knee.

Throughout his hospital stay, Yaeger saw an outpouring of support from friends and family, which he now perceives as a sort of therapy. Eventually, he recovered, began to ride BMX again, and now works full-time as an actor. He now recognizes the need for him to give back. "Not everyone gets to have the support I had," said Yaeger. "It's time to give when you can give, and receive when you need."

Donations for Metro's back surgery are currently being accepted through the You Caring website.