CHASE VAN SANT ON THE MEND FOLLOWING GRUESOME KNEE INJURY AT TEAXS NHRA FALL NATIONS
Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Chase Van Sant is out of competition for the rest of the year, his rookie-of-the-year hopes halted by an ugly knee injury he suffered in Friday qualifying for the Texas FallNationals that was almost undetectable by the Texas Motorplex crowd at Ennis.
The Trick Tools Suzuki rider from the White Alligator Racing team said he didn’t think many people saw the accident, which left him with “a golf ball-size hole that shows straight down to my kneecap.”
After more than 18 hours in a local hospital emergency room, Van Sant, 26, was back at the racetrack late Saturday morning, on crutches with his knee heavily bandaged, but in upbeat spirits.
“I think a lot of people still think that I probably hit the wall. And, basically, what I was trying to do was trying to get off the wall,” Van Sant said. “I was kind of hanging off the bike and had my knee a little closer to the ground. I'm one of the taller riders out here [at 5-foot-11], and unfortunately just hit a bump at the perfect time. And my knee bounced off the asphalt, and it kind of sliced and diced me a little bit. So probably going to need a skin graft. Luckily, nothing's broken, but it really scuffed the bones. I could see my tendons and all sorts of stuff. ... I'm actually going to catch a flight out tomorrow and get home, just to see doctors and get that processed.”
Home is Pella, Iowa, about 45 minutes southeast of Des Moines.
Van Sant said he went to the hospital following the accident Friday afternoon and was released around 11 a.m. Saturday.
“I basically went to straight to the hospital at four, and then they made me stay until I think 11 o'clock is when I got released. They were trying to keep track of infection. They just wanted to make sure that it wasn't infected. It had a little bits of asphalt and stuff in there, so I got it all cleaned out. Woke up this morning and everything looked OK. It didn't look like there were any signs of infection, so I've got to do some gauze changes and stuff like that in the meantime and keep it clean,” he said.
He said the doctor offered no timetable for his return.
“I think the big thing they're concerned about is getting range of motion in my knee back, and kind of the hard part about that is being where it's at, right at the front of my knee,” Van Sant said.
“If they would've just pinched it together and stitched it up, it just would've kept breaking apart. So if they do a skin graft -- I think that's kind of where they're leaning -- then it'll allow me to start moving my knee and be able to bend it and straighten it all the way again; it just heals naturally. It's just going to kind of keep breaking open the more I try. So they kind of made it sound like either way it's going to be a little bit. But hopefully when we get home, we can get another set of eyes on it and we'll see.”
Racing again by the start of the 2024 season is what he said he’s aiming to do: “That's the goal. So we're probably looking at a month, for sure. But we'll do everything we can to get [back] out as soon as we can.”
Fellow Pro Stock Motorcycle competitor Matt Smith said he didn’t know much about Van Sant’s accident, just that “his knee hit the ground, and it went pretty deep. I give my wishes to him and his dad [Bruce], because I’m going through it now. I know what kind of pain he’s in. He didn’t come off the bike, luckily.”