Two of the Nitro Circus Live performers hoping to thrill
crowds at Forsyth Barr Stadium tomorrow night know what it is
like to overcome life-threatening injuries.
Motocross rider Luke Smith (30), of Auckland, and BMX rider
Jed Mildon (26), of Taupo, have both been severely injured
during previous stunts, but continue to perform. Smith, who
stopped riding after suffering brain damage in a motocross
crash in 2009, is relaunching his career at the stadium.
He was in an induced coma for eight days and spent 18 weeks
recovering from frontal lobe damage and swelling of the brain
after going ''face first'' into the ground - ''my helmet
literally exploded on impact''.
Three years of rehabilitation included learning how to walk
and stand upright again. Several doctors told him that he
would never ride again.
''I had plenty of people say to me `It's never going to
happen again; you've had your time' - but I'm proof that
miracles do happen, if you want something bad enough.''
He was looking forward to performing in Dunedin although
slightly nervous. ''But I can't wait to go out there and do
Mildon, in 2011, was the first person to perform a triple
back flip on a BMX bike. He said every rider was fearful of
injury but that did not dictate how they lived their lives.
''I've broken my back, been knocked out, broken my
collarbones; I've got separated shoulders . . . but we don't
wake up in the morning, going `I hope I don't crash today'.
''We wake up in the morning going `Man, I'm going to have a
real good time today'.''
Anxiety before a trick was normal but riders reassured
themselves about the physics of the jump and came to terms
with the worst possible consequence if things go wrong -
death. No rider was fearless, he said.
''Fear is one of the things that gives you a good adrenaline
hit and that's what we chase. We are adrenaline junkies. If
you're scared and you can overcome fear then you get this
amazing feeling and that's why I do the things I do.''
Nitro Circus Live marketing manager Nathan Brown said 8500
tickets had been sold and he hoped to sell another 2000.