Mountain Biking

Paul Basagoitia Shatters T12 Vertebrae at Rampage, Undergoes Nine-Hour Surgery

Our positive thoughts go out to the American

Photo: Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Rampage is one of the most dangerous events on the planet, and unfortunately accidents are no rare occurrence.

Paul Basagoitia was on one of the greatest runs of his career when he went too deep on what is being called the biggest step down in mountain biking history. He had a huge crash, and was evacuated by a helicopter to receive medical treatment.

Bas holds a special place in the heart of mountain biking history; he borrowed Cam Zink’s bike to win the first Crankworx Whistler slopestyle comp in 2004. He also nailed the first double backflip on natural terrain and the first 720 in a movie. He’s one hell of a rider.

2010 Rampage winner Zink updated the world on Bas’ progress with an Instagram post that revealed Bas had shattered his T12 vertebrae though, undergone nine hours of surgery and was at the start of a long road to recovery. You can donate to Paul’s “Road2Recovery” page here.

Everyone send Paul Basagoitia positive vibes! This champion has started a long road to recovery after shattering his T12 vertebrae yesterday and undergoing 9 hours of surgery. He had a winning run going and may have set the record for biggest step down just before going down. Lots of tears have been shed. Keep Paul in your prayers to regain feeling in his legs. There were some horrible people spreading false news that he was OK, but he needs your support more than ever to walk again. Paul, you are the most tenacious human and competitor ever. Love you bud! You’ll be back! #fuckrampage

A photo posted by Cam Zink (@camzink) on

There has been a lot of debate this year about the severity of the risks at Rampage, after Nicholi Rogatkin was involved in a huge crash earlier in the week, and several others riders then went on to pull out of their second runs due to the wind in finals.

Zink told Pinkbike “I didn’t do my second run because it wasn’t worth it. We are risking our lives out here” and 2014 champion Andreu Lacondeguy said: “there was so much pressure on us. I think it’s the format. I don’t think it’s the right format anymore, because it’s the same format since 2001 but the riding is a lot different.”

An interesting read on Vital MTB meanwhile has questioned whether the current risk of Rampage is really worth the reward, and the debate will no doubt continue. There are big calls for increased safety for mountain bike professionals, and if the current feel of the mountain bike community is anything to go by, there could well be changes in the near future for Red Bull Rampage.

In the meantime, we’re sending out all our love and healing vibes to Paul Bas in hospital. Stay positive and know that the whole mountain biking community has you in their thoughts.

An update on PinkbikeOct, 19th, 2015 from girlfriend Nichole Munk: “His chest tube that was put in to assist with access to his spine during surgery was removed today and he is such a fighter that he is already looking forward to rehab! This is all new territory for us and we are flooded with information right now, but he will beat this! Thank you to all the riders, sponsors, friends and people involved with the event that have shared their support”.


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