For Chandler Baker, the summer of 2020 was shaping up to be a good one as an up-and-coming amateur motocross racer. Racing for the EBR Performance Race team, Chandler had been forced out of the B class in January 2020, meaning he had to jump up to the A class for the majority of the 2020 race season. That class change lit a fire in Chandler and he buckled down to get his speed and fitness where it needed to be in order to not only be competitive at 2020 Loretta Lynn’s, but make a statement and turn some heads with it being his first year in the A class.
Training at Robby Reynard’s facility was going well during the late spring and summer of 2020. Everything was clicking and Chandler was starting to feel confident and really ‘ready to go’ to peak at Loretta’s just under a month away when disaster struck. Chandler had been doing sprint work in late July when he got a little sketchy in a corner and went off track. He re-entered the track with a wheelie and did not see the rock on the edge of the track; right as he hit the rock, before ever crashing, he felt his arm pop out of its socket. The next thing Chandler remembers was laying on the practice track 3 weeks out of Loretta’s with his Humerus rubbing the bottom of his ribs. After trying to pop it back in for several hours, Chandler ended up having to go to the hospital and be put under to have his arm put back into place.
Once his arm was back into place, Chandler had an MRI on his arm and shoulder which revealed that he had fully torn his Labrum and stretched all the ligaments that help keep the ball of the Humerus bone in the socket. The bad news kept coming as the doctor revealed that the only route Chandler had to really have his arm get back to full strength would be to have surgery, which would also come with a 4–6-month recovery time post-surgery. With having already put in so much work to prep for Loretta’s in just a few weeks, Chandler chose to hold off on surgery and ride through the pain to still compete at Loretta’s. Staying positive and treating his injury as just a bump in the road, Chandler did nearly every form of therapy and treatment possible leading up to Loretta’s to try and have his shoulder and arm be as strong as possible. Even with cryotherapy, red light therapy, medical wave therapy and more all happening 3-4 times a week, it became clear to Chandler that no matter what he did, without surgery his shoulder wouldn't be back to a level of strength needed to compete seriously at Loretta's.
When the 2020 Amateur National Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch did finally come around, it ended up being a frustrating week overall for Chandler.
“Riding through the pain was tough overall even when my arm wasn’t popping out of it’s socket. I would feel OK for the first 10 minutes or so with some manageable pain, but after 10 minutes my shoulder would start to weaken quickly and my arm would begin to pop out of socket repeatedly throughout the moto. I remember having to take my hand off the throttle multiple times each moto to throw my arm to my side and have my arm pop back into socket. There wasn’t a moto during the whole week where my arm didn’t come out and I remember one moto where it popped out four times total.” - Chandler Baker
After a tough week at Loretta’s, Chandler ended up getting surgery a couple of weeks later and began the 4–6-month recovery process. Continuing to stay positive even after all the pain he’d already been through, Chandler was determined to get back up to speed and push his recovery timeline with a goal of being ready to go 3 months post-surgery. Even with a positive attitude, it was clear that the road back to recovery would be long and difficult. The atrophy in Chandler’s right arm was so severe that Chandler really had to work to just even get basic strength built back up. Chandler fell into the routine of 6 days a week of strength-oriented shoulder and arm exercises and 3 days of physical therapy every week. Thankfully Chandler had a fantastic support system to help him get back to full strength and motivated every step of the way with legendary trainer Robbie Reynard, who had dealt with some serious shoulder injuries himself during his professional career.
“I’ve been really blessed to have an incredible trainer in Robbie Reynard who dealt with shoulder injuries himself during his career. He’s been good to have in my corner to keep me motivated through so much time off the bike.” – Chandler Baker
Chandler went to the doc at the 3-month mark and despite not getting cleared to get back on the bike, Chandler kept a positive attitude, stayed with his recovery routine, and worked even harder. By the time Christmas came around, Chandler got the best gift he could ask for and got cleared by the doctor to start riding again.
While he’s only been on the bike for just over a month and taking things slowly, Chandler’s recovery is going well, and he already feels like he’s about 75% back to where he should be with his speed on the bike and overall strength in his shoulder and arm. Chandler still has some work to do to get where he wants to be health wise, but he already has goals of racing later this spring and getting his feet wet in the Outdoor Nationals before focusing on 2021 Loretta’s in mid-August.
While EVS has watched and supported Chandler from afar, it’s been impressive to see a rider with such determination and positive attitude throughout such a tough injury, from when he first crashed, to gutting it out through Loretta’s last year, and through continued recovery. We wish Chandler Baker continued success in his recovery so he can have a strong 2021 race season!