Day 3 - Aaron Baker
Aaron Baker is a recovering quadriplegic athlete, author, ambassador and friend. Prior to his career-ending spinal cord injury, Aaron was a professional motocross racer.
On May 26, 1999- Aaron was practicing on a local motocross track in Simi Valley, CA in preparation for the AMA National Motocross Series. On the approach to the largest jump on the track, Aaron's bike mal-functioned, causing him to lose valuable speed at the most crucial part of the launch. As a result, Aaron was flung over the front of the motorcycle while still airborn. Aaron impacted the ground headfirst, breaking cervical vertebrae 4, 6, and completely shattering the 5th cervical vertebra. Aaron lay motionless but conscious on the race track. Friends and onlookers immediately rushed to Aaron's aid. Aaron instructed them not to touch him but rather call for paramedics to get a Medi-flight helicopter. Upon arrival of the paramedic team, Aaron told them not to remove his helmet, as he knew his neck had been broken.
He was then flown to Los Robles Regional Hospital, Thousand Oaks, CA. where a team of neurosurgeons, headed by Dr. John Lee, fused the broken vertebrae with a titanium plate and 5 screws. Dr. Lee's prognosis was that Aaron would have a "one in a million" chance of ever regaining any type of function. Aaron remained in acute care for one month having experienced respiratory failure and other serious complications. Once the medical complications stabilized, Aaron was transferred to Northridge Hospital Medical Center where he began the process of rehabilitation.
SPINAL CORD INJURY
“From the moment I hit the ground I knew I was to embark on a journey of almost unimaginable power, for to overcome an injury of this magnitude takes more than just the fire inside me. I am blessed with a family and friends that have united to embrace each other turning tragedy into triumph. With the selfless support of these amazing people I have been able to set and achieve many goals for my self on my long road to complete recovery and independence.”
“I am an athlete, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I choose to face my challenges and to rise above and overcome with excellence! I am committed to inspiring not only through my words but my actions. I am of the philosophy that “what the mind can conceive and believe you truly can achieve”. I am honored to have the opportunity to share my experiences and to influence people in the world of spinal cord injury and disability.”