Snocross racer Garth Kaufman suffered a season-ending back injury at the FIM Snowcross World Championships this past February 16 in Tuuri, Finland.
He cased a jump and suffered a 10% compression and fracture of the T-7 vertebrae in his back. His spinal cord is undamaged and he will make a complete recovery.
The team had traveled to Scandinavia and were dialing in their snowmobiles for the event. With box-stock machines, they were up against European riders who were using mod engines per FIM rules, so the team was working to get suspension settings ready to handle the rough track. Kaufman had his sled working really well when he made one final practice run with it.
"There was a big double on the track and we had to hit it taped or we wouldn’t make it with our stock sleds,” Kaufman said. “There was a bump starting to form just before the double and when I hit it the sled cut out and I hit the face of the landing. I felt a sharp pain go from my leg all the way up to my head - it was the hardest hit I’ve ever taken on a sled. I knew something was wrong so I rode straight back to the pits.”
Kaufman was taken to a local hospital where he was diagnosed, treated and given the OK to fly back to the United States. He has been working with Michael Bleffert of Eagle Physical Therapy in Driggs, ID, on his recovery.