Sunday, July 11, 2010

Go Big or Go Home

I thought this was an appropriate time to write about myself....

So last weekend, my brother Fritz, owner of Out Cold Marketing, an extreme event marketing company, decided he was going to build a 40 foot A-Frame to have at our lake house for the 4th. Awesome right? I thought so!! We wakeboard all the time at KC Watersports and this was clearly no different than that. 

So everything is going great, Fritz hits is and everything is good, a little sticky on the landing but all good.  Ty hits it no problems at all.   So now its my turn, obviously I can't back out now.  I hit it the first time, great.  The second time, feeling pretty good... the third time I CHARGE it and oh shit..... Not so good.  I cleared nearly the entire structure, caught an edge and ate it!

All I hear is cheering and you got it you got it, we got it all on film!!!  All I feel is complete confusion and SEVERE pain.  

I pull myself together enough to get my balance and grab onto my brother as tight as I can and say, "My tooth is gone!!!"  At that point, he hadn't seen me yet so he didn't believe me.  I take my face out of the water and he believed me pretty quick when he saw me.  I could feel that one tooth was gone and at least one other was messed up.  The blood was pooling in the lake and I started to realize how serious this really was.

I got out of the lake, sat down, and counted the teeth missing from my mouth.  My two front teeth were still in my mouth but barely hanging on, and my tooth on next to it was completely gone.  Once we had a count, the hunt was on.  Everyone searched frantically in the lake for my tooth which sounds like a lost cause.  Brother of the year, found my tooth in the lake and I headed to the hospital.  After talking with a dentist (and referring to webmd, thanks mom) I knew if there was any chance of saving that tooth, I had to get it back into place soon.  

The doctor at the emergency room got the tooth back in place (still no pain meds at this point) and informed me that the closest oral surgeon was 130 miles away (we were in the middle of northern Wisconsin over 4th of July weekend, you can't expect too much!)  After convincing her I wasn't going to die on the way there, they let my dad drive me to the hospital where the oral surgeon was.

When we got there, the oral surgeon didn't waste a second. We took x-rays where I found that I didn't only destroy my three front teeth, technically, I broke my jaw as well.  The tooth that my amazing brother found in the lake came completely out tearing the jaw bone out with it.  Along with that, I needed stitches in my lip to put it back together.  She gave me a couple local shots and started trying to save my teeth the best she could.  Once they were somewhat close to normal, she added a VERY attractive wire and glue PERMANENT retainer across my 6 front teeth to hold them in place. She then stitched up the inside of my mouth in 4 places and stitched my lip up.  

She explained to me that since there was no bone to connect my tooth into place anymore, it wasn't going to survive.  :(  Thanks for your hard work anyways Fritz!!!  I saw the dentist last Wednesday where he then told me what I have to look forward to.  Two root canals on my front two teeth, a bone graph, an implant, and a root canal on the tooth that came completely out and suggested I see a plastic surgeon to fix up my split open lip.  

I thought for sure I would never wakeboard again, and for a couple hours I did write it off as something I would never do.  A couple days passed and my thoughts have completely changed.  I ABSOLUTELY will wakeboard again, no questions asked.  I might wear a huge mouth guard or a full on face mask but I'll for sure be back on a board.  If you want to see the video, go to  that is still something I can't see... YET!  

I'll keep you posted on life after each surgery! :) 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Half Man, Half Amazing

Jake Gertz is your average 23 year-old guy.  He was born in Ironwood, MI, a small town in the Upper Peninsula.  He's in school at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO, he goes to concerts and sporting events and even goes skiing at Breckenridge.  So what makes Jake so special? (Besides his striking good looks of course...)

In July of 2006, Jake was seriously injured resulting in the classification of a C-5 incomplete quadriplegic.  This means his spinal cord was injured at the fifth vertebrae but did not cut or puncture his spinal cord.  The doctors used a plate, two rods and 12 screws to fuse his neck and a piece of his right hip to replace the shattered vertebrae.

Following his injury, he spent 3 months at St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth, MN then was transfered to Craig Hospital in Englewood, CO where he spent the remaining 4 months of his recovery.  This is the same hospital where Kevin Pearce is being treated.

After a tough recovery process, he has become even stronger then he was before.  With many ups and downs, he has kept a strong head on his shoulders and has had an unbelievable support system with his friends and family.

Jake is living on his own in Greeley, CO where he attends school and lives the average life of a 23 year old.  He loves the band Swollen Members and in the past year has had the pleasure to meet the band.  He has also been to Rockies and Avalanche games with friends who have come from across the country to visit him.

Jake's most recent and amazing adventure was just a couple weeks ago where he went skiing at Breckenridge.  If this doesn't strike you as dedicated, I don't know if anything will.  He has never taken no for an answer.  He has proved everyone wrong when they told him he wouldn't be able to do things like this ever again.  Jake is unbelievably positive and looks forward to everyday.  He is an inspiration to me and I couldn't feel more blessed to be his friend.

Holding his head high, he continues to progress and live his life to the fullest.  In the last four years during Jake's struggles, I couldn't tell you one negative word uttered by him.  He values his life and the things he is still able to do.  Jake is living proof that no matter what you set your mind to, it is possible to achieve it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The United States just took the record for the most medals won in a Winter Olympics not held in the United States.  At the moment, the United States has won 26 medals.  Of the 26 medals won, there are seven gold, nine silver and 10 bronze.  These medals have been won in multiple sports by both men and women.  Many of these athletes won more than one medal to help their team take this record.

Some of these Olympians who have won more than one medal are: Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn (with severely bruised right shin) in Alpine Skiing, Johnny Spillane in Nordic Combined and Apolo Ohno in Short Track.

Some other athletes that stood out in their events are Shaun White in Men's Halfpipe Snowboarding and Evan Lysacek in Men's Figure Skating.

Shaun White was said to have gone six feet higher than his competition and perform tricks that no other athlete would even try.  The phrase "White is the new Gold" was even dubbed after him.

Evan Lysacek, who is from not far from my home town of Wheaton, IL, excelled in Men's Figure Skating to take home a gold medal.  Evan was the first American to take home the gold in Men's Figure Skating since 1988 when Scott Hamilton won.  His outfit was designed by Vera Wang, who started her designing career doing just that because as a figure skater herself, she hated the outfits and wanted to design something more appealing.

All of the athletes on the US Olympic Team have done an outstanding job representing our country and excelling in their sports.  Although the Olympics will be wrapping up soon, these athletes will continue to be icons in our lives for years to come!  USA, USA, USA!!!

For more information on the USA Olympic Team and updates of the rankings and medals, check out

****Kevin Pearce continues to recover steadily.  Keep him in your thoughts and prayers!****

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Shaun White Named Second Member of the U.S Olympic Snowboard Team Along with Kelly Clark

Congrats to Shaun White & Kelly Clark!

With two wins and a second at the Grand Prix, his spot is secured on the U.S Snowboard Team.  He had a sick first run with huge air and back to back double corked 1080s.  With impressive runs at all three of the Grand Prix's so far, Shaun White has proven himself to be a huge threat for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.  He won a gold medal in the 2006 Olympics and many other gold medals in the X Games.  Shaun is an unbelievable athlete excelling in not only snowboarding but in skateboarding as well where he has won multiple other gold medals.

He will ride with three other men and four other women representing the USA.  The other rider named for the 2010 Olympic team is Kelly Clark.  She was the first female and first member added to the 2010 Olympic Team on January 6, 2010.  She also is an Olympic gold medalist.  Kelly won a gold medal in the 2002 Olympics.  In 2006, she was a late qualifier and definitely stepped her game up this year to show she is serious to get her hands on another gold!

**With Kevin Pearce's condition improving from critical to serious condition, keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  We're all with you!!**

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Congrats Rocco!

Rocco van Straten is the newest member of the Liquid Force International Wakeboard Team, and they couldn't have made a better choice.  He started his career as a wakeskater with LF and made a big impression after a sick year in 06'.  

He took wins in the European cable and boat in 09' which solidified the decision to make him the newest member of the LF International Team. 

He started snowboarding at 9 and wakeboarding at 15 .  He is on the Dutch international wake and snowboard team.  

Liquid Force is lucky to have Rocco, but Rocco is also lucky to have Liquid Force.  They are an unbelievable company with so much to offer.  I visited their headquarters this past August and was blown away.  They have a design team in house as well as a design room.  LF's wakeboard teams are successful and their market share continues to grow.  

Without a doubt, Rocco van Straten is someone to watch out for.  At just 18, he's got a long road ahead of him to show the world what he's all about.  He is among some of the greatest... Tom Fooshee, Mike Ennen, Shawn Watson, Phillip Soven... and the rest of the LF Teams!

Good work, and congrats Rocco!  

**Keep Kevin Pearce in your thoughts! Stay strong buddy, we're all here for you!**