Mike Metzger, known as "The Godfather" of freestyle motocross, is in intensive care at a hospital in California after crashing Saturday at his home compound in Menifee, Calif. Metzger broke vertebrae in his back and neck, injured both collarbones, lacerated his kidney, and has been having liver complications in the hospital, according to his agent Lucas Mirtl.
"He's in what they're calling 'critical stable condition' and I'm sure he's going to be making a full recovery," says Mirtl.
Metzger crashed at the Sony Ericsson FMX Jam in Bratislava, Slovakia in June, fracturing 10 ribs, a collarbone, and his scapula. Still recovering from those injuries, he had been training over the weekend with hopes of competing in the Moto X Speed and Style event later this month at X Games 17.
"He's been riding out at his freestyle compound, but that crash last month in Slovakia put him in a difficult spot," says Aaron Cooke, director of the Athlete Recovery Fund (ARF). The ARF helped pay his medical bills and other expenses to bring him home from Slovakia, and Cooke was with Metzger and his family at the hospital last night. "The ARF has made contact with all of his family members to let them know that we're going to be there to help with the financial process and that we're going to work hard to help make sure he gets the best care and treatment possible."
After several high-profile action sports injuries occurred in 2007 -- including the spinal cord injury that left BMX rider Stephen Murray paralyzed -- the ARF was established as a 501 (c)3 non-profit to provide charitable assistance in the form of financial grants to professional BMX, FMX, and skateboard athletes in catastrophic cases where medical insurance falls short. Contributors to the ARF include the Alli Alliance of Action Sports (promoters of the Dew Tour and other events) and the American Freestyle Motocross Association (Metzger is one of the founding riders of the AFMXA), among others.
"There are a lot of rumors and stuff going around that we want to straighten out," Cooke says. "We'll be sending out an official statement later today."