With the recent tragic death of X Games snowmobile competitor Caleb Moore, injuries in extreme sports are getting a great deal of attention. Supercross is a sport that has had its riders frequently sidelined by injury.
Two weeks ago, it was revealed that James Stewart had a torn ACL in his right knee. The injury originally described as a "tweak" during warm-ups for the season opening race in Anaheim has now been diagnosed as a bit more than that. As of now, the two-time Monster Energy Supercross champion says he plans to complete the remainder of the series schedule, but there are 13 more races to go and to do so will certainly call for a monumental effort.
Stewart has not been able to complete a full Supercross schedule in two of the last three years due to injury.
So far in 2013, Honda rider Trey Canard is experiencing a remarkable comeback season. Canard has rebounded from a horrific accident suffered in 2012 at Dodger Stadium when another rider actually landed on top of him on a section of the course that placed multiple jumps in close proximity.
Canard suffered broken vertebrae in his back that threatened to result in more than just a few missed races. The 22-year-old has scored a top-five finish in each of the four Supercross events held this season, including a pair of second place results. That has him currently ranked second in the overall standings behind leader Davi Millsaps.
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Even the sport's most dominant rider over the past few years has not been immune to injury. Ryan Villopoto was not able to finish out his championship campaign in 2012 when he hurt his knee near the end of that season. Fortunately for him, he had amassed enough points so that no other rider was able to catch him in the standings despite his absence in the final two races.
Villopoto also suffered a badly broken leg that ended his season in the midst of the 2010 season.
Motorsports, by their very nature, are dangerous. Whether it be Supercross, NASCAR or snowmobiling in the X Games, competitors take on great risks as part of the participation. Perhaps no other form of sport offers such great reward, or such great risk. The thrill of high speed and intense competition will always be a lure for competitors and fans alike. The hope has to be that safety measures will continue to show improvement and injuries will be reduced as part of the evolution of these sports.
The Monster Energy Supercross series will make its third and final visit of 2013 to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. this Saturday night.