The Untold Truth Of Travis Pastrana

In January 2022, stunt actor and extreme sports athlete Travis Pastrana was hospitalized in Florida after a parachute mishap, per TMZ. The full extent of Pastrana's injuries have not been reported, but his condition was listed as serious but stable. The accident happened when Pastrana jumped from the top of a high-rise hotel. He was late to open his parachute, which caused the daredevil to land hard in a nearby park. "Surgery went well, and he is excited to get home and heal up," a publicist said following the incident (via TMZ). 

Pastrana, 38, is among the most decorated and well-known competitors in motorsports, with a resume full of media appearances, among many other notable accomplishments. Pastrana was born in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1983, to parents of Puerto Rican and Colombian descent, and his interest in bike racing and other high-adrenaline pursuits began when he was only a child, according to Biography. What happened in Florida is just the latest life-threatening injury in Pastrana's long career.

He had a terrible spinal injury

Read over Travis Pastrana's resume, and it's plain to see: Serious injuries are nothing new for the athlete, and he's had as many close calls as he has had championships in his sport's major competitions. One of the earliest and most serious accidents happened to Pastrana when he was only 14 years old, while competing in Freestyle MX at the 1998 Triple Crown event in Lake Havasu, Arizona, as 360 Guide reports.

Part of Pastrana's competition on the day that he was injured involved jumping his motorcycle from a 120-foot ramp. This is widely considered one of the riskiest things to do in all motorsports, according to 360 Guide. In this instance, Pastrana failed to land correctly and crashed. He was so badly injured, his spine dislocated from his pelvis, which is most often fatal. Nevertheless, Pastrana survived this spinal injury and recovered, spending three months in a wheelchair. This account is just one of many miraculous recoveries throughout the extreme athlete's illustrious career.

He won an inaugural event at the X Games

Injuries aren't the only thing accumulated by Travis Pastrana in competition. He has also racked up numerous first place finishes at a whole host of extreme sporting events, including world freestyle champion, and two-time Canadian amateur motocross champion, among many others. He has also driven NASCAR, and he is the most successful athlete in X Games freestyle motocross history, according to Bleacher Report. It was also at these X Games where Pastrana earned one of his most important and enduring distinctions.

In 1999, Pastrana was ready to compete in the debut MotoX freestyle event at the X Games. In MotoX freestyle, riders perform tricks, jumps, and other kinds of stunts, which are then evaluated and scored by judges. Not only is Pastrana the first to ever win the X Games MotoX freestyle, he did so with a score of 99 points, which is nearly perfect and has never been beaten. At the 2000 X Games, Pastrana was also the very first athlete to try for a 360-flip on his motorcycle (via Bleacher Report).

He follows in Evel Knievel's footsteps

As well as competing and winning at the highest level of his sport, Travis Pastrana has also made a name for himself performing stunts. In 2018, he tried replicating one of the most well-known stunts in history, performed by one of the most colorful stuntmen of all time — Evel Knievel. In doing so, Pastrana broke several of his hero's records, with a series of three jumps totaling more than 400 feet, according to CBS Sports. Knievel himself failed to perform one of the stunts back in 1967 and was seriously injured.

Pastrana would pick the same locale to try to match or break his hero's records: Las Vegas. Per CBS Sports, the first jump he completed over a line of cars totaled 143 feet. He also cleared a series of buses equaling 192 feet and — the crowning achievement that Knievel himself could not accomplish — the fountain at Caesar's Palace, adding about another 150 feet to the total. That's more than 50 cars, 16 buses, and a gigantic fountain, and Pastrana pulled it off. "Evel was never afraid to fail. He never had a regret that I could see ... He lived every day to the fullest," according to History, Pastrana said. And so, too, it seems, does Travis Pastrana.

He has a bike pit in his backyard

Travis Pastrana loves motocross competition so much that in 2021, he started his very own Pastranaland Pit Bike Championship, according to Nitro Circus. The first ever meet consisted of 11 teams, and it all took place in Pastrana's backyard on a specially designed course from expert motorsports mechanic Hubert Rowland. Naturally enough, when someone as notable as Pastrana holds his very own sporting event, it attracts only the best of the very best.

In the inaugural Pastranaland matchup, Anneke Beerten, a three-time mountain biking champion, and of course, Patrana himself, among many others, were there. As far as winners in the first-ever Pastranaland Pit Bike Championship, Gared "Stankdog" Steinke took first place for Team Pit Viper, followed by Justin Rodbell and Ryan Sipes in second and third. Justin Rodbell and AJ Catanzaro took top team, and Caleb Carter, racing as Joe Dirt, came in first by more than half a lap in the final Pastrana pit event, according to EVS.

He jumps from planes — parachute optional

The Florida accident landing Pastrana in the hospital was not the first time the stuntman found himself in parachute trouble. In 2007, Pastrana took his fearlessness to new heights, jumping from a plane. Under normal conditions, skydiving is a relatively commonplace pursuit. Never one to play it safe, Pastrana took things one step further, jumping from a plane without a parachute, while drinking a Red Bull, as Speed Society reports.

How does someone jump from a plane while not wearing a parachute and live to tell the tale? Pastrana jumped as part of a team who were all wearing chutes, and the plan was that in midair his friends would grab Pastrana, deploy their parachute, and guide him safely to the ground. The stunt required carefully orchestrated timing, but it was successful. Turns out, it was also illegal, as Pastrana explained to The Guardian. "I got in a lot of trouble," he remembered. "Oddly, jumping out of a plane without a parachute is not the scary bit; the clinging onto your parachute-wearing friend and hoping you don't fall is," he said.