Robin McGuirk – Injury Report

Injury Report

Robin McGuirk

I will always remember 2014 as the year I was injured. If you’re reading this report, you may be a friend or fan of mine and have a similar passion and love for skateboarding as I do. If so, you can imagine, or have experienced yourself, how crazy you’d feel if you couldn’t skate to your full potential for a period of time due to an injury. I’ve been skateboarding for almost 30 years and racing on them for the last 10 years has been a dream come true. After going this long without an injury, I must admit I’m pretty due for one. Even so I was pretty shocked from the news, but over the last month it’s slowly sunk in. Being that this is my first bump in the road of major injuries caused by skateboarding, I’d have to say I’ve had a good first run without one. Somehow I’ve managed to avoid the most typical injuries such as dislocated shoulders, various knee and ankle problems, and head injuries. This is probably due to wearing my safety gear 99% of the time and lots of luck. However the injury I have may seem unheard of to some younger riders and readers here, but not so uncommon to skaters who’ve been doing it for as long as I have or more.

Last month I got an MRI on my back after some brief episodes of low back pain and finally some nerve pain down my right leg. It reported that I had a small protrusion of my bottom L5 disc bulging out on my right side and pressing on my S1 nerve. This matched my symptoms and I was advised to “take it easy” and let myself heal. My primary doctor said to see my Chiropractor and LMT to speed up my recovery. He pronounced the most likely cause of the injury due to prolonged repetitive motion from pushing my skateboard mainly with my right leg. Over time it has rotated my pelvis and thus began to pull on one side of my low back causing the disc to be moved slightly out of place. I’ve found out after talking to some long-time skaters that they too have had their share of bulging discs and many have dealt with it a variety of ways. I’ve decided to go with the last evasive treatments of massage, acupuncture, and regular visits to my Chiropractor. So far it has helped greatly by immensely diminishing the nerve pain I had. Which means the disc is shrinking back slowly but surely. However the back is nothing to play around with and not to be taken lightly. This type of injury can take up to a year to fully heal if left alone and not reinjured. However in my case it was discovered fairly early and estimated to be healed in approx. 3 months or so with my treatment plan – as long as I don’t put any stress on it during that time. That is why I immediately made the decision to stop racing for a while to ensure my body has the chance to repair the injury. I’m still skating for fun but taking it pretty mellow and only skating for short periods of time. I’m also not pushing very much at all, which has been deemed the main trigger of aggravation that I want to avoid. So teaching my Longboarding 101 class once a week and being pulled by my dog Otis are pretty good avenues for me right now. I’m happy that I can do that but even still being cautious as my future is most important. I’m also a new dad with a 1 year old son and overall I want to be fully functional to be able to run and play with him for years to come. He is my primary motivation to “take it easy” and stay healthy. Skateboarding and getting back on the race track is important to me. But nothing is more important than family as you may know and feel yourself.

Looking back now I’m pretty surprised I’ve gotten this far unscathed having so many close calls. Taking huge risks racing down fast roads, through intense traffic, and throwing myself down ditches and boarder cross terrain several times a year are all actions that could have seriously injured, disabled, or even killed me. Somehow I’ve escaped all that so far and instead starting to see signs of wear and tear from getting away with it for so long. Looking at the two options, seriously hurt or breaking down, I’d much rather go with repair and maintenance. Yes I’m using the used car analogy because it’s true that our bodies do need to be maintained just like a car in order to continue performing at an optimal level. Once healed, I will focus even more on keeping my body in tune, especially my back by getting aligned more often, core workouts to strengthen it, and cutting back on stresses to it.

I expect to be back in action later this year near the end of the downhill race season. But it may be a while longer until I attempt competing in any push racing or boarder cross. I’m going to start with working slowly back into downhill and slalom first in the name of playing it safe to ensure my future. Sports history is full or stories about athletes who’ve tried to come back too early, reinjuring themselves, and cutting their careers short. It’s a tragedy I aim to avoid. With this much skateboard experience, muscle memory, and consistency it would be a shame to waste it by falling victim to impatience. So far I’ve missed riding at some of my favorite events like the Spring Maryhill Freeride, the All-Around Challenge and SLAP in the ditches of NM, and my own event, the 10th Annual P-Town Throwdown in Portland. It has been a bummer but I’ve accepted it and the other amazing events I may not race in this year. I’m aiming for a full-recovery and keeping my eye on the prize of racing once again! I’ll be visualizing my future success and healing my body in the meantime. You may see me rooting for my friends at some local events here in the NW like the 2014 Switchback Series, where I dominated last year with 3 out of 4 wins, and one of my all-time favorites the Maryhill Festival of Speed, an amazing event and great for spectating. You may also catch me at my favorite skate shop hanging out with my friends at Daddies Board Shop, my biggest supporter! It’s a pleasure to be part of the family there as I’ve known the original owners since they first opened in 1995. And I’ve grown to know and enjoy the company of all the old and new employees over the years being a native to Portland. You can check out everything about them and what they offer at

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