Ricky Johnson Injury Map - Dirt Rider Magazine

Some new jobs require a medical physical, but when it came time to bring Ricky Johnson in to guest editor an issue, the physical turned into more of a racing history lesson. Here are the lowlights of Ricky's racing career, as pieced together by his body.Head "I've had multiple concussions. in 1987. Three weeks before Anaheim I had my left ankle operated on. When I came down off a jump I lifted my left leg off because I didn't want to take the impact, so all the weight went onto my right leg and my knee gave out. bucked me over the bar and down I went. I think does hurt me on short-term memory. I can tell you point for point what happened in a photo from 30 years ago, but to try to tell you the names of the people I met today… So I don't know what residual I'm going to have later on, and that does concern me."Left shoulder "I had a small separation doing jujitsu for exercise in 2002."Elbow "I chipped the bone when I was really young."Right wrist "Both my wrists have been broken. My right wrist was way worse. In practice in 1989 at the Gainesville national I passed Danny Storbeck and kind of scrubbed a jump to stay low; he jumped high. His front wheel hit me in the back of the arm and shoved my arm bones up into my hand. It was hot, burning, but it didn't feel broken. I looked down. I knew I was screwed. My glove was half ripped off, and it looked like someone took my hand off and set it on the side of my arm. About a year and a half after that it got to where I couldn't ride anymore . It was starting to lock up on me; my hand would involuntarily let go. I came back and won that Gainesville national a year later, but I had minimal success. I was close but never the same."Right collarbone "I broke my right collarbone in 1983. The only time it really hurt was when I tried to come back, I think it was five weeks after that, at Daytona. It hurt more healing it than breaking it."Middle spine "I got run over at Carlsbad in '87 and displaced a vertebra, and it pops out quite a bit. I've developed a high tolerance for pain over the years, and the good thing is it's not hard to get it back in. What makes it feel the best is riding motorcycles because it keeps your core tight and balancing keeps my spine a lot more loose. If I don't ride, I find myself knotting up a lot more."Sternum "I separated my ribs from my sternum and my back one year racing 500s. I didn't rip 'em apart. but it stretched all the tendons and everything. I have no real residual from that, but my back gets sore at times."Ribs "I broke some ribs falling through the roof doing a little self-construction on our house in North Carolina."Belly "You can see how fat I am right now. I'm not gonna lie to you and say that I train anything, anything like I did when I was racing motocross. When I raced I typically did about a 45-minute run in the morning at a pretty high heart rate just to maintain my weight, then I would go do my motorcycle riding, and I didn't kill myself there because I wanted my intensity to be strong. Then when I was done with that sometimes I would get on the bicycle and ride home or I would drive to the gym and do my workout so that I would push myself to failure there, but not on the bike, because I didn't want to get injured practicing."Left hip "In St. Louis in 1983, I was leading the outdoor national championship, in the second moto I was in fifth or sixth and I landed short in some whoops and it bucked me up over the bar. As I came down I was flying sideways to the right and my left foot hooked and my right foot stayed sliding and it popped my left hip out the side. After tumbling I didn't know where my leg was, but my foot was up by my head. I didn't know there was a level of pain like a dislocated hip. Since it was dislocated for five hours and the severity of the dislocation they were sure I would have to have a hip replacement, but I bounced back from that. I am one of the blessed people who have no residual ."Right knee "I've had my left knee scoped three or four times. And when I was teaching (MX School of Champions) I hyperextended my right knee and it popped my PCL. And as I tried to eject off the back it trapped my foot and popped my ACL. So I have cadavers', people's Achilles tendons, for my ACL and PCL. Now I don't have as much range of motion as my other knee. Both of them are sore and they're just worn down. But if I can get out on a bicycle and focus on spinning instead of pushing big gears, my knees feel like I've put Amsoil in there, they're nice and fluidy and smooth. But the less I ride, the more I swell up."Ankles "The boot technology in the '70s and '80s was so much worse that guys had ankle injuries all the time. I had to have my ankles scoped back in the day. I don't have an issue with my ankles today. With the boot protection today your ankles are safe."Advice From The Champ: "The biggest thing is not to come back too early. Back when we were riding, I'd crash and get knocked out in the first moto and line up for the second moto, because we didn't know then what we know now. I was very lucky and blessed that I didn't land again . Rest and let yourself heal. My biggest regret is that I always came back too soon."