Personal meaning

Death-defying acts take on personal meaning with Bruce Cook, writes Jordan Gerrans


BRUCE Cook knew how close he was to death, but at the same time, it wanted to make him jump even more on his bike.

BRUCE Cook knew how close he was to death, but at the same time, it wanted to make him jump even more on his bike.

The Canadian can joke about it now, but a little over three years ago it was almost over for the daredevil.

Right now, he’s in the middle of his first performance in Australia ahead of Nitro Circus Live which wraps up its whirlwind Australian tour at Cazalys Stadium on May 27.

But, on January 3, 2014, Cook was about to make freestyle motocross history and attempt the world’s first double frontflip.

In an instant everything changed, he under-burped on landing and crashed hard.

He underwent surgery the next day to repair a broken T-11 vertebra.

Cook had also suffered broken ribs and spinal cord damage resulting in paralysis from the waist to the feet.

“Some people still don’t understand why I wanted to go back over something that almost ended my life,” Cook said.

“It’s passion and if you don’t have such a strong passion, it’s hard to understand. That’s what I know and what I love.

“Now you approach it in a much safer way and the consequences are much greater than they were before.

“I think about things a lot more now, but the passion is still there. “

He approached his injuries with the same focus and motivation that had fueled his career.

Just 10 months after his accident, Cook was back on an off-road motorcycle and less than two years after his horrific crash, Cook made an epic comeback.

He still struggles with nerve and phantom pain in his back, but admits that his body was sometimes his secondary concern.

“It was probably more difficult mentally than physically,” Cook said.

“For me and anyone who participates in extreme sports, everyone breaks their bones and you know it’s a high risk activity. You usually break a wrist or ankle and the first thing you ask the doctor is how quickly you can get back on the bike.

“It was obviously a lot more serious but I had the same frame of mind, it was a much bigger obstacle.“ There was never really any doubt in my mind that I would be back.

“I didn’t want to hope too much, it was a serious injury, but you also need something to move forward.”

The world-famous motocross stunt show returns to the Far North for the first time in four years with a tour of 81 people, including 36 athletes, and 12 semi-trailers.

Nitro Circus Live facts

– Australian tour in Cazalys on May 27, 2017.

– Four years after world famous artists last stunned a huge crowd in Cairns.

– Bigger than the 2013 display, which attracted around 10,000 fans.

– The tour includes 81 people, including 36 athletes, and 12 semi-trailers.

– Tickets are available at www.ticketdirect.com.au/event/details/87252/nitro-circus-live-cairns


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