Mat Barton

Published 2012-06-15

I learned this morning through the OBRA mailing list that Monday’s injury at the Short Track Mountain Bike race was far worse than the usual busted collarbone. Mat Barton, a pro/elite racer, seriously injured his spine and will likely suffer permanent paralysis below the chest. Mat is no N00B. He races way waaaaay above my grade.

When I saw chatter on the OBRA list about altering the course to reduce injuries, I piped in with an opinion I would summarize as “there’s nothing wrong with the course, but there’s something wrong with the way the course is promoted.”

Upon learning about the extent of Mat’s injury I think my opinion was poorly informed and hasty. I don’t know what my opinion is, or whether I’m qualified to have one, or whether it’s worthwhile to say it out loud.

Usually I stay out of these minor battles on the Internet, but I felt compelled this time because the battle was among my bikey friends, not anonymous Internet strangers. But just because the terms of debate are friendly, doesn’t make my position any better informed.

It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Friends of Mat have started a fundraising website to help support him and his family. Please visit and making a donation.