Now-a-day, athletes seem to be in and out of hospitals just like motorcycles going in for a scheduled service maintenance. And not just for major injures! With updates in sports science combined with astronomical increases in riders salaries, it's becoming the 'done thing' to check in regularly for a quick fix of body parts. And if that is what it takes to lengthen a relatively short career life span, then so be it.
One of my old friends, a professional rider, got me thinking just how much our sport has progressed and how on top of things you need to be if you have any hope of being successful in motorcycle racing. My friend had just been released from hospital after his second operation in less than a week.
The first operation was an arthroscope on his knee, and the second – yes, you guessed it – another arthroscope on his ankle. An arthroscope is basically like a service for MotoGP motorcycle engine. It involves a surgeon sending a small camera into a body part via a tiny incision to have a look around and assess the situation. From there, this little tool can clean up scar tissue and even remove it from the body. It can also grind away sharp edges that shouldn't be there. In no more than a couple of weeks the rider is good as gold and ready to get back on his motorcycle. For as long as I can remember, injuries have been a part of motorcycle racing. Some far worse than others, but nine out of 10 injuries require a proper rehabilitation plan to help riders get back on their motorcycle as quickly as possible – while keeping the future in mind.
None of us want to be old with arthritis in our joints, but unfortunately that is the last thing that pop into the minds of the riders when they are trying to win a Grand Prix or think about when the next payment comes in...