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Austin Forkner | “Abdominal Injuries” Are Loss Of Spleen & Pancreas


INSTAGRAM | @austinforkner

UPDATE JULY 5 | A lot has changed in the 10 days since Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki sent out a press release that stated Austin Forkner would be sidelined for “six to eight weeks with multiple abdominal injuries” and that he would miss the start of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship (which has been moved to mid-August). Over the weekend, Forkner posted a video to his Instagram that fully outlined the injuries he suffered in his crash, which is far worse than what was first shared. The hard slam did a number on Forkner’s internal organs, including significant damage to part of his pancreas and spleen that required surgical removal and a week-long hospital stay.

“I broke a third of my pancreas off and damaged a bunch of my internals like my liver and my kidneys, damaged all my insides, and messed up my spleen to the point that had to take part of my pancreas and my whole spleen completely out,” shared Forkner in the video. “It’s a lot of internal damage, but I didn’t have anything broken.” Forkner goes on to show the massive incision up his stomach at the end of the video, a clip that was taken while he was in the hospital. 

“I feel like I have a pretty good knowledge on pain, I’ve hurt myself a few times, and this way by far the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. It was brutal. The six or seven days that I was in the hospital were horrible,” he continued. “I feel a lot better now and getting to the point where the pain is settled down and my body is settling down.”

These injuries are more significant than first thought and it puts Forkner’s status into question for the delayed summer series. A quick online search will reveal that typical recovery from a splenectomy is four to six weeks, but there’s a huge difference in “recovery” and being healthy enough to race motos in brutal conditions of the Nationals, while the lesser damage to his kidney and liver could also hinder the process.


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After a few quiet days, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki has shared an update on Austin Forkner following his hard slam at the 2020 Salt Lake City Seven Supercross. The wording is somewhat vague, as it’s only stated to be “multiple abdominal injuries,” but whatever it is will require a six to eight-week recovery and keeps Forkner on the sidelines for the start of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. 

Forkner crashed during the early laps of the 250 East-West Showdown when he mistimed a dragon’s back, went over the handlebars, and hit the Utah hard-pack. Race officials threw the red flag when it became apparent that Forkner was unable to get to his feet and off the track, and he was immediately taken care of by the Alpinestars Mobile Medical staff. He was able to sit upright on the medical Mule, but was clearly in pain and braced himself against one of the medics during the ride out of the stadium. 

Tomac’s title win was the headline in Kawasaki’s post-race media presence and there was little news on Forkner in Monday’s press release, but we had heard that it was possibly a lung injury and not damage to the shoulder, which was the initial speculated. Although the latest update isn’t the most detailed and there’s no clearly defined injury, the timeline for recovery means it’s less serious than was feared a few days ago.

How much of the six to eight-week window is needed for recovery will determine how much racing we see Forkner do this summer. He’s certainly out for the first rounds of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, which starts with races on July 18 and July 25 but is uncertain after that. If Forkner can return to full health and get back on the bike in six weeks, he could make it to the starting line for the first-ever Pro Motocross round at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Tennessee, which is currently slated for late August. If the full two months are needed to recover and return to “race speed” then he could make it back for the RedBud/Spring Creek/Colorado races that MX Sports aims to hold in September and October.

All four riders of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki race team have missed races with injuries at some time in 2020. Cameron McAdoo sat out multiple rounds of the 250 West Coast region after a practice crash at the St. Louis Supercross left him with a collapsed lung, while Jordon Smith and Garrett Marchbanks will miss the rest of 2020 as a result of the major knee injuries that suffered at different rounds of Supercross (Daytona for Smith, Salt Lake City Three for Marchbanks). McAdoo is now the only member of the roster that is healthy and able to race, which means the team will almost certainly hire a fill-in rider or two for the summer series. They could call up a current pro like Darian Sanayei/Enzo Lopes/John Short or they could make use of the “A Class eligibility rules” and bring up Seth Hammaker from Kawasaki’s Team Green amateur program for a few races. 

Michael Antonovich

Michael Antonovich has a wealth of experience with over 10 years of moto-journalism under his belt. A lifelong racing enthusiast and rider, Anton is the Editor of Swapmoto Live and lives to be at the race track.

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