Thursday, August 02, 2007

Joe Theismann, Clint Malarchuk, now Jake Brown's 50 foot fall

Analisa and I just returned from the Big Air finals of x-Games 13 @ Staples Center, and I gotta be honest, I'm still a little queasy-feeling. Jake Brown fell farther and harder than I've ever seen in the sport.

I mean we knew he was in trouble because he pushed way off the ramp and was flailing in the air heading down to the flat part of the half pipe (too far out to hit knees and slide), but he somehow rotated onto his back in the air... and when he hit, butt first then back & head slammed, you could feel the thud of the wood in your chest at the other side of the stadium. He hit so hard both shoes flew off to the other end of the ramp.

I felt sick instantly... all I thought was, "no." Either his life or career was certainly over.

By now Jake Brown has probably either been examined, (hopefully) cleared, and admitted to the hospital for observation, or is perhaps in surgery for internal injuries.

That's right, for some reason he's apparently neither dead nor paralyzed. He even walked off the ramp, upright! Thankfully they got him back down on a stretcher and continued examining him for neck and back injuries before transporting him (to the hospital, I presume).

OK, back home now, I just watched the replay on TiVO and you can hear Tony Hawk saying, "oh-no. oh-no..." as Brown flails in the air, way too far inside the ramp to slide down safely. But then as Brown gets closer to the ground, and it becomes evident that he has rotated onto his back and is about to slam deadly hard, Hawk's voice gets quieter, and higher-pitched: real fear enters, and he almost whimpers, "oh... god."

Then his voice is unsteady and the sentences are incomplete. Brown is lying on the ramp like a rag-doll, clearly unconscious as medics rush to him (each medics reaction is the same, hands go to head and mouth, just like Hawk's, "oh... no" and announcers are bumbling about hoping for the best, as we're all fearing the worst, saying things about "the risk is always there in this sport," and, "measured risk."

So I don't know about the X-Games anymore. I mean, I'd never thought about it like NASCAR, where someone might die. I knew we were getting to that point, especially with the Moto-X stuff. I dunno.

Jake Brown video: big air 720, crash Thursday Night X-Games 13- 1/2

Jake Brown video: big air 720, crash Thursday Night X-Games 13- 2/2

ESPN version of Jake Brown's slam + miraculous survival here: ESPN footage of Jake Brown bail

Here they include some interviews with Jake, who doesn't recall the landing, and even asked, "did I try the 720?" after regaining consciousness. Apparently he was not breathing and his eyes were open immediately after impace : more details and Jake Brown's reaction here