The Friday Interview – Catching Up With Andy Buckworth

The 2010 X Games Big Air bronze medalist Andy Buckworth had been killing it all year. He already pulled a double frontflip no-hander, a double frontflip superman, and event attempted a few triple frontflips. He was pre-qualified for Dew Tour and invited to ride in X Games again…then he ruptured his spleen. Now Andy will have to sit on the sidelines for the next few months while he heals, so we caught up with him to see how his recovery is going and what he’s been up to since he can’t ride. He’s still in good spirits thought and has a great attitude about it all, and he’ll be back on it and ripping again before you know it…

Photos and interview by Fat.

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Name: Andy Buckworth
Age: 21
Location: Greenville, NC / Australia
Sponsors: Monster Energy, Mirraco, Jetpilot, Ethika, Skullcandy, Ogio
Twitter: @andybuckworth

Obviously the big news with you right now is that you are out after rupturing your spleen…
Yeah, I ruptured my spleen a few weeks ago. I was riding Mirra’s warehouse. It was just a normal day…I was getting ready to shoot some photos with Ryan Guettler. I thought I’d just do a warm up run, and at the end of the run I went to do a decade air on Mirra’s 10-foot and over-rotated the spin, witched caused me to land flat on my stomach.

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The trick that took Andy out. Decade air.

For those who don’t know, give us a little biology lesson on the spleen…I’m sure you learned plenty about it since you ruptured, no?
Well, you would think I would know it all by now, but to tell the truth that whole time in hospital was just a blur to me. What I do know is that the spleen in somewhere up near your stomach and its purpose is to filter the blood. I guess to help your body fight off germs…It can rupture from any hard hit to the abdomen, making the spleen brake open and bleed into your abdomen.

After you crashed, did you know right away something was seriously wrong?
Well, at first I thought I just knocked the wind out of myself, but then I started to feel really sick and weak. That’s when I knew something was wrong.

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Big air, park, and dirt...Andy has them all on lock.

Did you need surgery?
I was lucky in a way that they didn’t take my spleen out, so I didn’t need any surgery, but it was still a bad enough rupture to keep me off the bike for 13 weeks. The doctor said it was a grade four rupture on a scale of one to five, so I think I’m pretty lucky that I got to keep it.

Now that you’ve been home from the hospital for a few weeks, what does the road to recovery look like for you?
I’m getting stronger every day now. At the start it was death…I was finding it really hard to do anything, but now I’m up and about finding all sorts of activities to keep myself occupied. I still have about two months before I’m back riding.

Since you are dealing with an internal injury (as opposed to a broken bone or something), what are you limited to as far as movement and physical activity?
In my opinion I would much rather a broken bone just because once you feel good you can be back on the bike and doing what you want. With an internal injury like this, there is no way of knowing if its getting better or if you’re damaging it more. As for the pain, when I first got out of hospital it was defiantly bad. I found it really hard to sleep and get comfortable, but now I’m doing a lot better. The pain has almost completely passed, and I’m finding myself doing more and more physical activities.

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Can you try to put into words what it’s like having to be off your bike at a time like this?
It sucks!!!!!!! Coming from Australia to follow your dream is hard, and to finally be invited to the X Games and be pre qualified for Dew Tour and get to be here riding with all your idols is a dream come true…Then for all that to be taken away from you in two seconds is heart braking to say the least. I’ts been about a month now, which is the longest I’v been off my bike in about 14 years, and its getting harder and harder every day.

Injuries are a part of BMX, so what kind of advice would you give other riders out there that have to take some time off to heal?
Well, I was given this advice myself, so I will just pass it on to you guys. There will always be another contest, show, and day to ride—that will never get taken away. But your health can be taken away from you, and without your health you can’t ride that next trip or that next contest, so you’re better off letting your body heal, then come back stronger and more exited to ride than ever.

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What’s it like being so far from your family at a time like this? Do you wish you could be in Australia while you are recovering?
Being away from my family is hard for sure, but I must say, all my friends here are just like a second family to me. I’m so lucky to have friends that I know will always be here for me.

What you have found to occupy your time since you can’t ride?
At first I was in a lot of pain, so I was just doing things like watching movies and sleeping. Now that I’m more mobile I can do a lot more. A heap of us in Greenville got paintball guns, and we play paintball two or three times a weeks. Also, just been going to the pool and gym, but there really isn’t much I can do. I guess I just take every day like I find it.

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Frontflip superman over the 70ft gap at the 2010 X Games Big Air contest.

Once you are healed, what’s your plan of attack as far as getting back out there on the contest scene and stuff?
Not to sure really…I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how quickly I get all my tricks back. Not in any rush. I just can wait to go riding with all my mates again.

Ok, enough about the injury…The Nitro Circus Live Tour seems pretty wild…What’s it like riding in that on a regular basis?
The tour is crazy. I have so much fun on tour with those people. Every day is an adventure, and when your riding with that much talent around you can’t stop the progression.

Got any funny stories of shit that happens to you guys on the road? With that crew, there are bound to be some laughs…
The whole tour is just jokes and good times, that’s for sure. But what happens on tour has to stay on tour. I don’t want to say something and get myself in trouble now.

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The result of Andy's efforts at his first X Games appearance...a bronze medal in Big Air.

I know dudes never like to tell things like this, but I have to ask anyway…What new tricks did you have up your sleeve that you were waiting to throw out this year at Dew Tour and X Games?
I think I’ll just keep them a secret and maybe keep an eye out for them next year.

Anything else you want to say, shout outs, and/or words of advice?
I just would like to thank all my friends that were there for me when I needed them. Every day there was someone in the hospital room to keep me company, and I’m so grateful for that. I would have lost my mind if I was sitting there alone all day…

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