Andy Buckworth's Year of Pain

Double flip master Andy Buckworth has spent the past year trying to bounce back from a nasty injury and multiple failed attempts at getting him back to speed. Watch as he recaps all of the craziness that he’s been forced to power through.

So how did you actually break your leg in the first place?

It was August 27th of last year. Right before the Cheyenne Nitro Circus show, I was asked by a friend to participate in a stunt involving a dirtbike. Long story short, I missed the whole landing and landed on solid concrete.

What was the exact injury?

I broke my left tibia and fibula, also shattering my right heel. My right heel was shattered in fifty places and my left leg was broken in multiple places.

What was the initial plan to get you back on your bike?

I should have had two surgeries - one on my leg and one on my foot - and then ten weeks of healing. Unfortunately, that’s when the complications started. The initial plan, after the surgeries, was to start physical therapy as soon as possible, primarily targeting my ankle and knee movements so I didn’t move much range. Step two would have been to get me up in the crutches as soon as possible to put some weight on my leg - the rod should have been strong enough to hold weight in two or three weeks after the operation. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. Months later, we found out that the rod that was inside my leg wasn’t stable. It was too thin, too long, and way too flexible, causing my tibia to never completely merge together.

When did everything start going wrong?

All of my problems were with my left leg. I had my right foot operated on in California by a great surgeon - Dr. Tocci - and it was perfect. My left leg was operated on in Wyoming, where it was initially injured. Pretty much immediately after the surgeries, when I started physical therapy, I noticed that for some reason there was excruciating pain when bending my leg. This is when I learned there was a screw through my patella tendon. Then, in the lead up to the surgery to remove the screw, we found that I had developed a minor bone infection. That was just the beginning of a ten-month ordeal. 

Give us the entire timeline here…

So, all in all, it was ten months with four surgeries and a little bit of riding in-between. Every time I’d been given the clear from doctors, I’d soon after re-break my leg.

How do you think they ended up blowing it so bad?

Honestly, I think it was small-town mentality and a situation where whatever could go wrong did go wrong.

You seemed to be riding off-and-on throughout your recovery. What was the deal there?

Yeah, like I said before, I was actually cleared a few times and all it would take was one hard landing to re-break the bone callas around the rod. Fortunately, I had that rod in my leg the whole time. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been pretty. Mentally, it was almost crippling to be knocked back down time-after-time…

I’m assuming that riding wasn’t a very responsible move. Am I right?

Well, it wasn’t responsible, but I was given the clear from doctors. Nobody knew that the rod was going to flex as much as it did.

What’s your current status? I know the footage in this video is a few weeks old…

Currently, I’m riding every day, spending time on the bike. I’m progressing and slowly getting back to where I’d like to be. 

When do you expect to be back to 100%?

I’m not sure, but my goal is to be 100% for X Games in Sydney.

Will that be your first contest back?

Yes. X Games will be my first event back, but prior to that, I will be participating in the North American Nitro Circus tour.

Any lessons learned here? 

Yeah! Stay away from dirtbikes..

Credit: Video by Scott Greentree
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