40 year-old Kevin Robinson has had 43 surgeries, 25 broken bones and at least 50 concussions from his career as a professional BMX rider.
And he’s still riding.
On top of that, he was a good friend of Junior Seau, the former San Diego Charger who killed himself a few months ago, a death many are attributing to head injury based illness such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. And one would think that Kevin Robinson would quit, or at least be afraid, of meeting the same end.
The LA Times is featuring an awesome read about Kevin Robinson, his family, his career and his fears about concussions:
for all Robinson’s concussions, it was one he suffered in 2003 at a Dew Tour event that, as he says, “really scared me.”
The hit left him in a mild coma and then hindered his speech for two weeks — he tried to talk but only gibberish came out.
He acknowledged he needed help, and met Echemendia, who did multiple tests to examine Robinson’s cognitive functions, such as learning, memory, concentration and processing speed. No significant damage was evident.
A few years later, Robinson suffered another concussion that affected his dexterity skills to the point where he struggled to button his children’s jackets. His fears returned, and he surrounded himself with even more experts.
Dr. Neha Raukar, a specialist, warned Robinson, “in 10 years, you’re probably not going to have all your faculties about you.”
So what’s a guy to do? An athlete, one of a small percentage of people in the world who actually get to follow their passions in their careers, and have success?
Robinson rides BMX bikes with his 6-year-old, Kevin Jr., and won’t stop his son if he wants to pursue the sport. “I’d be contradicting my whole life,” Robinson says.
Robinson cites the MRIs, CAT scans and other tests he’s taken and that none, to this day, have shown any concussion-related effects. When a test definitively reveals something, Robinson swears, “I’ll put my bike down, I’m done. It’s not worth it.”
But, doctors say, no such test exists.
Robinson says he will “ride until they find something” but as far as testing goes, it seems the only effective way of knowing whether someone has CTE or another type of brain damage from repeated concussions is postmortem.
Considering that Robinson and Seau were good friends, considering the damage that the injuries most likely led to Seau’s suicide (he killed himself by shooting himself in the chest like Dave Duerson did), is it a responsible decision for Robinson to keep riding and competing, risking his health further?
Do your feelings about whether Robinson should be riding change when you know he has small children?
Should Robinson be considered “of sound mind” in order to even make that decision?
Check out the full Los Angeles Times article here.
AP photo/ Ryan Pearson