Photography by Paul Carruthers
AMA Grand National Champion Brad Baker suffered a badly broken left arm on Wednesday at Colin Edwards’ Texas Tornado Boot Camp with the Harley-Davidson factory rider undergoing surgery yesterday at Houston University General in Houston, Texas. Baker says the injury has a recovery time of five to six weeks and he will race in the next round of the AMA Grand National Championship – the Springfield Mile – on May 25.
Dr. Henry Small, a noted orthopedist in Houston who has operated on Edwards in the past, performed the surgery.
“The ulna has a clean, break-off fracture right below the elbow and more towards the wrist, above that first fracture, I had another fracture that wasn’t a clean break all the way across,” Baker explained from hospital this morning. “On the end of the radius, right below the elbow, it was broken in a couple of pieces. They ended up replacing the whole end of the radius with a stainless, socket-looking type deal – just so didn’t take forever to heal. It would have taken a long time and usually if it takes a long time I probably wouldn’t have been able to extend my arm the whole way. This is more durable and will last longer so they ended up replacing the whole end of the radius and plated the heck out of my ulna and put a whole bunch of screws in it.”
The crash happened on a TT course at the Edwards camp in nearby Conroe.
“One of the GP riders, one of the students, fell down in front of me,” Baker explained. “We were riding this little TT they use and it was on turns one and two of the short track. It’s pretty much a sweeper. He came down on me, didn’t know I was there, and came to the bottom and I had the run on him so I backed off the throttle and pretty much rolled up the inside of him. We were at the bottom so at the apex and I’m putting along on the inside of him.
“Since he’s a road racer, he’s hanging off the inside of the bike and the track was dry slick. The thing started to slide out on him and instead of being on the throttle and spinning the thing around, he let off the gas and it slid out and right into my line. I grabbed a handful of front brake to try and get it slowed down… I hit his motorcycle and it sent me over the bars. It was a really slow over the bars deal and I hung in the air for a little while and caught myself, but the motorcycle was above me and I just knew that motorcycle was coming down on me. It was teetering up above me and it just flipped over and the swingarm and wheel got my left elbow and broke it all up.”
Baker is alone now at the hospital, but an ex-girlfriend - and fellow racer JD Beach - helped the Washington State resident out on Wednesday and Thursday. Now Baker will begin rehab.
“Basically it’s five to six weeks,” the 21-year-old Baker said. “It’s going to come down to how hard I work at it and what I do to make it heal better. I’m getting a bone ultrasound, I’ve got some mineral enzymes to make the bones heal quicker and I will be doing cardio. I will do a bone ultrasound each day. I don’t have a cast on because one [bone] has been replaced and the other one is plated up, so they have to heal. It’s held in place by plates and screws, but they want me to start moving it as early as tomorrow.
“It’s looking like I won't be completely 100 percent, but good enough to hold on to the bars at Springfield in six weeks. It’s just the mile. There’s a TT the night before, but it’s an All-Star race. But as far as Grand Nationals go, it’s just the mile on Sunday and for me that works out best for me. The TT and short track are crazy physical and I’d have to be in really good shape for those. I wouldn’t be able to do those at 100 percent. It’s a track where you get arm pump even if you’re 100 percent.”