Saturday, March 2, 2024

Kade Walker’s health continues to improve, returns to Canada

Kade Tinkler-Walker has returned to Canada after spending nearly a month at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego undergoing treatment for a traumatic brain injury he sustained in a frightening crash at the Baja 1000. In an update on Friday, his family revealed his health has improved enough that he can be transferred back home to begin intensive therapy with the help of specialists like sports medicine and rehabilitation doctors as well as occupational and speech therapists.

Walker was placed in a medically induced coma following his accident 823 miles into the Baja 1000, which led to a protracted rescue and evacuation process that his SLR Honda team among others have harshly criticised. Despite initial expectations that his injury would keep him unconscious for up to sixty days, he awakened approximately two weeks later and was able to communicate via hand gestures. He also retained much of his memory, though his speech was fairly limited at the time; Walker’s friend and team member Ty Davis remarked after visiting him in early December that he “wants out of the hospital, as us racers hate hospitals, but I told him he is in the best one, if he has to be in one.”

Since he hails from Canada and was staying in an American medical centre, Walker does not have the proper health coverage to pay off his medical expenses. This, along with the support of the racing community, prompted SLR Honda and his family to set up a fundraiser withthe Road2Recovery Foundation to cover the costs until he is able to go back to Quebec. As of this article’s publication, the effort has raised USD$32,820 (€3,007.10).

“The decision to start Kade’s recovery in Canada was challenging but ultimately made in the best interest of Kade’s physical and financial well-being,” his family explained. “As a Canadian citizen, Kade will benefit from the healthcare system there, which is instrumental in facilitating his long-term rehabilitation. This move aligns with his ongoing medical needs. It ensures continuity in the high-quality care he requires, with the ultimate goal of coming back to Southern California to receive specialized therapy once medically approved.

“While we are optimistic about Kade’s progress, the road ahead remains long and requires substantial resources. The extensive nature and expected long-term needs of his therapy, coupled with the looming concerns regarding the final medical bill from his hospital stay in California, a figure that remains uncertain but is expected to be substantial, adds another layer of complexity and ultimately assists in making this difficult decision a bit easier.

“In this moment of reflection, we are immensely grateful for the tireless efforts of everyone involved in Kade’s emergency response and medical care. From the individuals who ensured his safe transport from the accident site to the medical professionals who have been relentlessly working towards his recovery – your dedication has not gone unnoticed. While we hesitate to single out individuals due to the sheer number of contributors, please know that your efforts are deeply appreciated and have made a significant difference in Kade’s journey. And thank you to everyone who has generously donated thus far; your contributions have been invaluable. You have helped provide the support and peace of mind to navigate these ongoing financial challenges.

“We remain hopeful and inspired by Kade’s resilience and the unwavering support of our community. We will continue to update him on his progress and are thankful for every gesture of kindness and support extended to Kade and our family.”

Walker, the 2023 AMA National Grand Prix Championship Pro 2 champion, raced the Baja 1000 on the #7X Pro Moto Unlimited bike led by Mark Samuels.

Donations to his Road2Recovery can be made here.