Two weeks ago, Henry Miller broke a pair of fingers during a race at Mill Creek Motocross Park in Alabama.
But last week he had no problem gripping the vibrating handlebars on his bike at the 37th Annual Grand National Championship International Final. Known as the largest amateur motocross race in Texas, it’s held every year at Oak Hill Raceway. Tucked away near a remote corner of the LBJ National Grasslands between Decatur and Alvord, the Oak Hill GNC draws racers from across the nation.
Miller, of Rochester, Minn., won the championship in the 450 intermediate and received second place in the 250 intermediate stock class.
Miller rides for Horton Racing. His quick return to the circuit is owed in large part to one of the Horton racing team’s sponsors, Wise Regional Health System’s Fit-N-Wise – and the Fit-N-Wise crew was on hand at last week’s race.
“Unfortunately, this sport is dangerous,” said team spokesperson Lexy Horton. “Accidents happen and people get hurt, but Fit-N-Wise helps us find out what the injury is and helps get our riders back on the track as quick as possible with physical therapy.
“In the past, when accidents happened, they were just sent straight from the site to the emergency room. Now, with Fit-N-Wise, they can work on our riders with minor injuries right here by the track.”
No extreme energy drinks or neon colored helmets cluttered the area below the black, non-descript Fit-n-Wise tent during last week’s massive motocross race. Beneath the tent is enough equipment to perform a host of basic medical procedures.
And what they’re doing is something revolutionary in amateur motocross.
Tad Montgomery is in the doctoral program for sports medicine at University of North Texas. He’s also in charge of Fit-N-Wise’s motocross program.
“Our goal is to get the riders back on the course as soon as possible,” Montgomery said, “just like a high school football coach would want to get their best players back out on the field.”
Montgomery used to ride motocross himself. He won a championship at Oak Hill 11 years ago. Now, he and a small team of sports medical staff and therapists are helping other riders achieve their dreams.
“It is revolutionary because in motocross we’ve never had this at the amateur level before,” Horton said.
The Fit-N-Wise team even helps from afar. When Miller broke his fingers in Alabama, the Horton race team used video feed between them and the therapists at Fit-N-Wise to figure out the best course of action.
And their plan translated to success on the track two weeks later.