My First Serious Uni Accident: A Broken Back with Video!

There is another thread about this and another broken back incident that happend 6 weeks ago here, but since many people (including me) only read the first couple posts, they might have missed it my additional accident so here’s my long version of it.

So I was on the inuried list for the last 3 weeks due to a twisted knee. So I was really happy to finally be able to get back on the trails 3 weeks later. Went on a nice realitively easy 8 mile ride last Sunday the 3rd of June and was pumped to be able to ride again.

On Saturday the 9th of June, there was a LA Times guy meeting us up in Simi Valley, CA to do an article on us for the Health Section. A photographer was with as well to take some pictures and we were going to ride the nice technical Gspot trail (one of the most techinal trails I’ve ridden or seen). It was my first time doing this trail so I was excited, especially since there was a photographer and us getting interviewed.

I talked my friend and roomate Colin Schworer who’s been riding freestyle unicycle for 15? years or so. He’s also from MN and just moved down here to CA. He’s never really MUni’d so I told him he should come and hike with us and/or ride if there’s an extra Muni. Turns out Rod had an extra one (thanks btw) and extra gear so Colin was good to go.

We all met around 8:30am and then shuttled up to the top. I was so pumped that I ended riding up the entire mile or so climb up. Which looking back, maybe that wore me out enough so I crashed coming down? Anyways, we caught our breath and started going down the trail, stopping and sections to take pictures and try it until we got it. It was a really sweet trail and I was lovin it. Got maybe 1/3 of the way down when we got to the I guess now named “Mossengren Rock” or “Jameys Rock” if it’s easier.

It looked pretty dang steep (much steeper than the video looks) and I wasn’t going to try it until I saw Josh give it a go and do it. He made it look pretty easy and not only did I already not do one of the sections he did, the newspaper guys were their with their camera’s and there were 7 others standing around including my friend Colin who I guess in a way I wanted to impress everyone. So I decided to give it a try.

Started going down it and everything was going OK and I made it to the bottom and that’s when the wheel stopped in the dirt/flatter area but my body kept going. I kinda did a superman fly and all I could see was a big rock headed my way. I somehow managed to fly over the rock and land on the other side of it, kinda on my face and chest I guess. I litterally ate dirt because I was spitting it out of my mouth when I got up. It knocked the wind out of me for what seemed like an eternity (30-45 seconds) but I thought I was OK besides that.

My back hurt but I just thought it was a bad bruise so I said I was fine and walked the rest of the trail down. Took some pictures and video’s of the other guys and was happy to finally make it to my car. Went out and ate some food afterwards with some of the guys and then I drove home and traffic sucked. Took almost 2 hours and by the time I got home I was hurting more. Couldnt’ get comfortable so I called the nurseline and asked them and they told me to come in.

Got some xray’s and that showed something so I got a cat scan and it confirmed that I had broke my back. I had a compressed fracture in the T6 vertabrae. No spinal cord or nerve damage, thank god. Since it was the weekend they couldn’t get a brace for me and had me stay in the hospital till Monday. It was my first hospital experience and I’m not a big fan. Maybe I’ll tell some stories about it later.

So the thing that sucks the most is that I’m going to retire from the sport. OK, anyone that knows me knows that unicycling is my life so that’s just the opposite. It’s going to be so hard not to ride, surf or play disc golf for 2-3months. But I guess it could be worse and I’ll just have to patiently wait…

So that’s the long version and here is the video. I don’t think it looks that bad but somehow I managed to break me ol back from it. Ship Happens. And time will heal it.

BTW-My friend Colin loved it and had a blast. He’s definately hooked and told me to bring him again whenever I go. Rod was so nice that he even loaned his extra muni to Colin for the next month or two until he likes it so much he buys one of his own! He did great for his first time ever MUni’ing, especially since it was one of the most difficult trails out there. He rode much of it!

-Broke Back Jamey

Forgot the vid. =p

Glad your fine. The waiting is gonna suck, but it wont be too bad. :slight_smile:

EDIT: You got the vid. lol

You must not know me cause when I was out for 3 weeks, it sucked and was torture!

Damn, well then… at least you can go along the rides and make some sweet videos. Thats what I would do if I was able to be out, but not be active, at least id be around and still showcasing my favorite sport. :slight_smile:

The video is still processing for me, so ill have to watch it later.

Come on Jamey - I’ve waited days to see this thing!

Glad that your out of the hospital - where the heck do you live? It is hard to organize a beer delivery without that info!


Ya, youtubes slow I guess. I live in Fountain Valley, right next to Huntington Beach. But I don’t need any gifts…actually relaxing with a beer right now! Thanks anyways!

That blows, Jamey. That rock slab has caused more bad muni spills than about any bit of trail I’ve ever seen. All of us will keep bugging you till that back is fine. In he meantime, drink a few beers.

Talk to you soon,


ouch, hope you have a speedy recovery.

My pain relief recipe is 2 Vicodin, 2 beers!! It worked for me. Heal fast.

JAMEY NOOOOOOOOO! Terrible news, man. You seemed rattled, but not broken. I’ll send you massive healing vibes, over a one year span. When I get back from France, you’ll be ready for action again.

The whole fall was really crazy for me to watch. I was attemping to be more careful than usual on the trail, since it was my first muni-ride since my hand surgery. I really, really, really didn’t want to re-injure my healing hand, so I told myself I wouldn’t do some of the more sketchy lines. On ol’ Mossengren rock, I was contemplating just going for it, despite my hand, but then Jamey busted out down the slope and nearly crushed his muzzle into that rock. You can see me going through this process in the video. Anyway, Jamey’s fall made my decison. So thank you, Jamey, for saving me!

Other than that, the ride was rockin.


Oh yeah, and here’s another copy of the video since youtube seems to be not processing…



Thanks Jess for the video link.

I just looked at the video and it surprises me that that kind of fall would result in a compression fracture of a vertebra. I would expect a compression fracture to come from the type of fall where you slam down hard on your butt. The kind of fall that would be more likely to hurt your tailbone than a vertebra high up on the back. Looks like an unexpected injury from that type of fall, at least to my untrained expectations.

I’m one who almost always goes brakeless on the muni. But if I was riding steep stuff like that I’d be using a brake. You can’t control speed on slopes like that, especially coming off a drop, without a brake.

It’s sunny in southern California and the girls are out. Enjoy the views while you’re healing. It ain’t Minnesota (or Seattle).

That’s a spot I know well (but have been too chicken to ride so far). The video makes it look impressive and that’s something on video. Everything always looks smaller and not as steep on video. You were really movin’! Best of luck again healing.


Jamey is right, the video doesn’t show the steepness of the incline that well. It’s really STEEP! The scariest part of watching him do the line was when he did the superman and grazed over the rock on the ground. I initially thought he was lucky that he missed the imbedded rock, but then came the united, "Are you okay"s from many of us.

Then we saw how slow he was moving. He was obviously in pain, as we came closer we saw the blood, and dirt around his mouth. From up high, it didn’t seem like he had made contact with his mouth. Then came the onslaught of the two photographers. Click, click click x 30. He was obviously uncomfortable and then to literally have camaras plunged into your face, kind of pissed me off. But, there was Jamey smiling away.

I wish him the best in a quick recovery. A word from the Dad over here on this side of LA - don’t rush it. You want to be able to do this a very very long time. Early activity before healing could really mess you up, farther down the line. Being young makes it easy to go out and go for it, but just heed my advice. Take it slow. I will expect you back up here again in due time, not “tomorrow”.

Take care Jamey.

…muni can be dangerous! i feel sorry for you and hope you’re getting better…

i had yesterday an accident, but fortunatly i diden’t get hurt. i rode i really nice track here in the suisse alps along a river, the trail was all the time 20-100 meters above the river, it was very narrow and it was also wet (i know it was a bad idea). anyway in a momamt i was not cancentrated i fell off the muni and at the rights side down to the river, i fell 4 or 5 meters almost vertical, i felt like falling in slow motion, an a saw a log and thought you have to grab it the other way it will have a bad end…i could grab it, the muni fell farther and stopped in a little tree… i was alone on the track, and i thanked god to be still alive. it was really hard work to climb down to the muni and back to the trail…
i’ve only some scratches on my chest and legs…

i had a helm-camera on, it doesn’t look that spectacular… and since youtube is not processing i can’t show at the moment… will try it later…

here re some pics from the trail from a b*ke website:

now I have even more respect for muni.

Oooh, bad luck mate.

I’m currently off the unicycle with injury but my broken toe pales into insignificance next to your broken back.

Did you actually land on your back or twist funny? (Can’t view the vid fro some reason). On the bright side at least there’s no nerve damage. That would have been proper rubbish!

Heal well, Jamey, from some East-coast guy you don’t know.

…here a pick where i flew a bit…


Ouch! Get well soon Jamey. I’m suprised you were able to even walk back down the trail, guess you got lucky…