Tony Hawk Discusses Serious Leg Injury, Reveals How He Suffered Broken Femur

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 5, 2022

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 30: Tony Hawk attends the Los Angeles premiere of HBO Max's "Tony Hawk: Until The Wheels Fall Off" at The Bungalow on March 30, 2022 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Livingston/FilmMagic)
David Livingston/FilmMagic

Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk is no stranger to injuries, but the broken femur he suffered "feels different" from what he has experienced before.

The 53-year-old first revealed the injury in March:

Tony Hawk @tonyhawk

Yesterday sucked. I broke my elbow 20 years ago and managed to make a full comeback; this broken femur recovery will take longer but I’m up for the challenge. <br>Strangely ironic that it happened on the eve of <a href="https://twitter.com/HBO?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HBO</a> releasing a trailer for “Until The Wheels Fall Off,” <a href="https://twitter.com/samjones?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@samjones</a>’ doc <a href="https://t.co/xeVwwtQjVb">pic.twitter.com/xeVwwtQjVb</a>

He explained to Esquire's Jack Holmes the injury and how it happened are emblematic of fighting a losing battle with Father Time:

"I feel like it's a major warning. If you want to get into the weeds of it, I was doing a McTwist and I didn't really have enough speed for it. I knew that going into it, but in the past, and in my younger days, that's not a problem. I just tuck it up and spin faster and I force it around. I don’t have that same snap. I can't ball up the way I used to, but I refused to believe that in that moment. And suddenly I was on the wall when I thought I was still in the air, and I was not ready to ride back down the ramp. And so I was recovering from that all the way down, and that snapped my leg."

Hawk retired from active competition in 2003, but he continues to skate recreationally and push his own limits. In March 2021, he shared a video from a session in which he wanted to land one final Ollie 540:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

"That definitely was the last one I'll ever do."<br><br>Tony Hawk became emotional after nailing the Ollie 540, a move he first completed in 1989, for the last time 🥺<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyhawk?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tonyhawk</a>, tweestopher/Instagram) <a href="https://t.co/mIYzRDr1In">pic.twitter.com/mIYzRDr1In</a>

In most other sports, understanding what you can and cannot do as you age doesn't present much physical danger. Maybe your drives off the tee become shorter. You can't hit a baseball as far. You can't blow past a defender on the basketball court and finish with a thunderous jam.

In skateboarding, Hawk's broken femur shows how badly things can go wrong.

Last month, he explained why he continues to skate at his age.

"The answer is complicated, but ultimately it’s because I have found my sense of purpose and shaped my identity through skating, and it nourishes my mental health immensely," Hawk said. "I’ve said many times that I won’t stop skating until I am physically unable." 

He added that his leg injury "will probably be the biggest test of that creed."