#TigeStories: Bruce Cook
Bruce Cook is a 26-year-old Canadian motocross rider who earlier this year suffered a serious spinal injury while attempting a double front flip at the Nitro Circus Live Tour. He is confident about his future and is working hard to get better through going to rehab so that he can get back on his bike and get back to doing what he loves. This guy’s ambition is incredible—he recently got on a Tige boat for the first time and tried wakesurfing behind it for a film called "The Paddler Movie". Last week he was even able to ride his dirtbike for the first time! We hope the best for him in his recovery and were fortunate to be able to ask him some questions about his journey this past year.
Tige Boats: Tell us about your injury. How and when did it happen, and what does the future hold for you in relation to your recovery?
Bruce Cook: On January 3rd, 2014 I attempted to land the first ever double front flip on a motorcycle. Unfortunately, I ended up under rotating slightly, sliding off the rear of my bike and basically doing a backdrop on to the heel of my right boot. Needless to say, that isn't very good for your back when falling from 40'. I ended up shattering my T11 vertebrae, and severing my spinal cord. After three hours of surgery, I now have two rods installed in my back from T9 to L1 vertebrae. As soon as I could, I made my way down to a very specialized spinal injury recovery place called Project Walk in San Diego, California. I was there for three months working four days a week, 2 to 4 hours a day. This helped huge with physical and mental recovery alike. Just last week I got back on to my bike for the first time since my injury (9 months post injury, also the longest time I'd been off of a motorcycle since I was five years old) Being back on my bike was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, but it was also extremely emotional. I plan to return to Project Walk at some point this winter and pick up where I left off. I will likely continue to return as much as I can in the coming years.
TB: Tell us a little bit about the movie you’ve started filming for. What’s it about?
BC: "The Paddler Movie" follows Bob Purdy on a journey to change the way we live on the planet. Bob Purdy paddles every day on his S.U.P all over the place, and I was just honored to be a part of it. I did a quick interview and we got a few shots of me trying to wakesurf for the first time since my injury.
TB: Now you’ve always been a stunt biker, but had you wakesurfed before?
BC: I had only wakesurfed once before a couple years ago, which was obviously pre-injury.
TB: How did it feel wakesurfing for the first time after your accident? What difficulties and/or surprises did you encounter?
BC: I've grown up around water so just to be back in the water and be around boats and water sports was awesome. Obviously wake surfing wasn't quite how it used to be, but it was awesome to be able to do what I could, do my best to adapt, and still enjoy getting out behind the boat!
TB: What did you enjoy most about wakesurfing behind a Tige?
BC: This was actually my first time being on or behind a Tige boat and the thing was amazing! First off, I noticed how accessible things were and how easy it was to get around. From the second I got on board I realized the layout was awesome for me to transfer on and off of as well as move around inside. As far as being behind, it was the best wake I've ever ridden. We had the tanks full with a few people on board and did it ever throw a nice wake. It made it so easy to be able to go for as long as I pleased!
TB: Have you or are you interested in getting into any other sports while in recovery?
BC: Not really at this point. I was never really interested in the regular sports, I was always drawn to the extreme sports that offer a good dose of adrenaline. My goal has been to get back on my dirtbike, and I accomplished that last week!
TB: What inspires and motivates you to stay positive and keep working towards recovery each day?
BC: There are definitely ups and downs throughout recovery, but its important to remind yourself in any situation that it could always be worse and that I've still got everything in life that really matters to me. I just have to make the best of the card I was dealt.
TB: What have you learned throughout this whole recovery process?
BC: I’ve been reminded how important family and close friends are and the amount of people that are willing to lend a helping hand is amazing :)
TB: What advice would you give to someone who is in your position and has been physically injured?
BC: Every day is a new challenge—I've always liked a good challenge—so just learn to get excited about new challenges rather than get overwhelmed with frustration and once again remember things could always be worse. There is so much to be grateful for so just constant positive reminders are key.
TB: What other interests and hobbies do you have other than motocross?
BC: Basically anything outdoors. I've grown up outside on bikes, hiking, 4x4ing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, etc., so I will do my best to get back to those things the best that I can.
TB: How have your family and friends been a support system throughout your recovery?
BC: To say they've been crucial is a huge understatement. I have no idea what I would do without the massive support from family friends and fans. They've been with me through the ups and downs pre-accident and there’s definitely no difference now. The amount of support and love through all of this has been hugely overwhelming and it helps keeps me charging!
TB: What are some of your future plans, long-term and short-term?
BC: Getting back on my bike was the first goal, which turned out awesome. Now my plan is to just continue with rehab, get as healthy as possible, and get some of my physical pain under control.
TB: What are some goals that you have for this next year?
BC: I'm takings things a day at a time as of right now but there will definitely be big things to come and I'm excited for the future!
TB: Anyone you’d like to say thanks to or give a shout out to?
BC: My family, friends, fans, everybody at Project Walk, and everyone who has supported and continues to support me through this crazy journey!