Few people would argue whether the specialty of emergency medicine has its own medical jargon that leaves most people scratching their heads. Occasionally, even our patients have been known to say (or ingest) things that may send us running to Google or Urban Dictionary. However, the emergency physicians who work in motorsports also have a language all their own.
A typical exchange at a Supercross event:
Doc: “What happened?”
Rider: “Doc, I missed the holeshot. I had it pinned and was pushing through traffic. I was railing off of the berm trying to scrub that first triple when this squid whiskey throttled off of the face of that whoop, got squirrelly, and cased the second jump. I totally nailed him and endoed into the ruts. Got roosted on by about five dudes. I think I landed right on his foot peg.”
Doc: “So what hurts?”
Doc: “Let’s get you checked out.”
Dirt bike racing is not in the realm of experience for most emergency docs, but for two emergency physicians, John Bodnar, MD, aka “Doc Bodnar,” and myself, Jim Kennedye, MD, MPH, FACEP, or simply “Doctor Jim,” it is second nature. Both of us are board-certified emergency physicians practicing full-time in EDs out of California and Oklahoma, respectively, and both have been riding and racing dirt bikes since the 1970s, when the sport of professional dirt bike racing, also known as “motocross,” exploded in popularity.
Doc Bodnar is the founding member and serves as medical director of the Asterisk Mobile Medical Center (AMMC). A team of professionals staffs the AMMC and provides medical treatment and stabilization services for the athletes and crews of the Monster Energy Supercross series and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Motocross Nationals across the United States. It is made up of a rotating crew of emergency nurses, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and athletic trainers led by Doc Bodnar and head athletic trainer Eddie Casillas.
“Supercross” is the term for dirt bike racing at its highest level that occurs in major professional football and baseball stadiums across the country. The tracks of Supercross tend to be highly technical and shorter due to space constraints. “Motocross” tends to refer to longer outdoor tracks in more rural areas, which are less technical but come with the risks inherent with more riders and much higher speeds.