TJ Lavin, the world-class BMX rider and host of MTV’s The Challenge, was hospitalized last Thursday after crashing during a Dew Tour event in Las Vegas, Nevada. So severe were the injuries that Lavin was put into a medically induced coma.
While doctors do not expect any long-term brain damage, Lavin has had to deal with numerous setbacks already. Since suffering injuries to his head, wrist and ribs, Lavin has been hooked up to feeding and breathing tubes, which doctors hope to remove over the weekend.
Read on for all the latest details on this tragic injury.
Last Thursday at the Dew Tour Championships, Lavin was attempting a nac nac combination over the second dirt mound when he lost his footing and slammed face first into the tightly packed dirt.
Making this accident even more upsetting is that his mother said this was Lavin’s last race, and that the nac nac combo is a relatively simply maneuver.
While most people are more familiar with Lavin for his job hosting MTV’s reality show The Challenge, he has been recognized as one of the greatest BMX riders of all time.
Known as the “King of Dirt,” T.J. has dominated his field winning seven X-Games medals amongst numerous other accolades.
For 10 seasons, Lavin has hosted the Real World/Road Rules Challenge. The reality show pits past members from the Real World and the now defunct Road Rules against each other in various competitions.
Oddly enough, fellow BMX legend Dave Mirra hosted the show before surrendering the reigns to Lavin.
Along with his television and dirt jumping careers, Lavin has also been successful in his foray into the music industry.
A longtime music lover, Lavin taught himself to play the piano. Using his home recording studio, the BMX legend released an album titled LAVS the First SET.
On June 22, 2007 Lavin’s good friend and fellow BMX Rider, Stephen Murray, took a cataclysmic fall at the Dew Action Sports Tour BMX Dirt Finals.
The devastating fall caused injuries to Murray’s spinal cord and vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the shoulders down.
Since then, Lavin has been a tireless crusader for the Stephen Murray Family Fund. His song "Solider" was written about Murray with all the proceeds being donated to the foundation.
Lavin and Murray may not be the only BMX injuries, but they are certainly two of the most debilitating. Extreme sports on the whole have a high injury rate, and nobody is immune to harm.
Dave Mirra ended up in the hospital after injuring his spleen on a botched trick, but it’s Max Hoffman who has earned the iron man title.
Hoffman has had 16 major surgeries during his 16-year career including a ruptured spleen that caused internal bleeding. He’s been knocked unconscious, been comatose for hours and even once flat lined.
The one thing I would like to point out is the use of helmets. These extreme athletes all wore the right safety equipment and it may have saved their lives.
Immediately following the accident, the outlook was somewhat grim for Lavin. The day after his accident he was still unconscious and suffering from a brain bleed.
Almost a week later and the prognosis is looking far brighter.
“He seems to be a little better,” his mother said earlier this week. “His oxygen rate is a little better. The doctor was so reassuring.”
As expected, his mother Barbara is absolutely brokenhearted since her son’s tragic accident. She claimed that this was supposed to be the 33 year old's last race, and like any mother, is struggling to cope with this brutal injury.
“It’s killing me,” a forlorn Lavin told People on Tuesday. “It’s very hard to see him like that. He doesn’t know where he is. I’ll say, ‘Mom’s here, squeeze my hand,’ and he will sometimes. Not always, but sometimes. He knows when Mom is here, he knows when his girlfriend is here. He squeezes her hand. It’s not all the time.”
After being placed in a medically induced coma, TJ was diagnosed with pneumonia, but luckily the antibiotics seem to be working.
Doctors have noted an improvement in Lavin’s health including a reduction in brain swelling. Despite being highly sedated, Lavin has been able to move his hands and even give the thumbs up signal.
With doctors ruling out brain damage, it would seem that TJ simply has to wait for all of his breaks and bruises to heal. A fortunate result given the horrific impact of his crash.
A week after Lavin’s terrible accident, things are looking good for the BMX legend. Doctors anticipate being able to remove the feeding and breathing tubes over the weekend and that comes none too soon.
In fact, the doctors believed that it was the tubes that were responsible for Lavin’s pneumonia. We all wish TJ the best of luck in his recuperation and send our best wishes out to his family.