We love Mat Hoffman. You love Mat Hoffman. The whole world loves Mat Hoffman. There’s absolutely no reason not to.
We’re talking about a guy who invented half the freestyle BMX tricks in the book, who went miles higher than everyone else at the time he was riding, and who has had more serious injuries than the bad guys from Home Alone.
In 1999, the icon went through an experimental ACL replacement surgery… with absolutely no anaesthetic
Of course, it goes without saying that Hoffman is hard as nails. When we last spoke to the legend, he told us that these days, he literally rides with a transmitter in his helmet that alerts his family if he gets knocked unconscious. That’s how hard the guy rides. Still.
There is one particular moment in Hoffman’s career that leaves people open mouthed and wincing whenever they hear it though, no matter how many times they’ve heard it before. In 1999, the icon went through a sketchy-as-hell experimental ACL replacement surgery wide awake... with absolutely no anaesthetic.
Hoffman had to meet an experimental surgeon in Canada, allowing him to take advantage of the French-Canadian treaty which allows this kind of crazy thing to happen. Hoffman had to travel with a suitcase filled with $10,000 and pay the surgeon in cash before the operation.
He then had to help the surgeon stabilise the drill because he didn’t have enough assistants, and watch as a bunch of red and yellow goo piled out of his leg in excruciating pain.
The craziest part of it all? The surgery actually worked, and Hoffman was back on his bike a week later. It is seriously impossible not to have a world of respect for that man.
The rest of the story is just as crazy as well, so check out the video from Taj Mihelich and see if you can watch without looking away...