Jérôme FARAILL – MXVOICE.Racing : About the genesis of Road2Recovery, the Foundation was a “direct link” with your big crash in 2000 that forced You to retirement or the idea was there before..?
Jimmy BUTTON : Yes, the foundation was inspired from my injury in San Diego SX. We believed that there would be more injuries coming and knowing how difficult my injury was to navigate the insurance, hospital, and just the injury itself, we had to create something that would help riders out when the big injuries would come.
MXVOICE.Racing : What are the solutions for a professional rider in the US to be sure to have the best care of him if the worst happens, he has to pay each month for an expensive insurance, right..?
Jimmy BUTTON : Yes, insurance is very crucial here in the US. We have great healthcare but good insurance is very necessary. Honestly though, the cost is not very crazy expensive.
MXVOICE.Racing : Can You explain for the Fans the system of health cover in the USA for a professional rider (or non-professional..) because a lot of people here in France don’t understand why it cost so much to be in a special care service of an hospital in the US because here in France it’s “free” during the hospital’ time”.. However the material ; a wheel chair by example or the adaptation of the house or appartement ; are for a big part of it to the charge of the injured people..? In fact to be clear, if i’m right, if You don’t have contracted a special insurance, You can’t, after hospital, be in a center specialized in theses kind of big injuries..
Jimmy BUTTON : There are a number of things people don’t understand. If you get injured and don’t have insurance you will still receive the best healthcare that there is. But, to get really great rehab you must have good insurance. The cost is probably around $400 per month for a rider for the top-level insurance. So, again, yes you must pay, but the cost is not crazy for a professional athlete. But, these riders don’t always have good insurance so that is why we are there to make sure these guys can get rehabilitated as best as possible.
MXVOICE.Racing : For You is this a fair situation..? Do You understand/agree with the system in the US..? Because in the same time You were against the “Obama Care” in the past, is this because You consider that when you choose to do a sport potentially dangerous the risks are up to you and you have to take the right choices before to be taken in charge by the US health system..?
Jimmy BUTTON : I do think this is fine. As I said if you don’t have much money you still receive healthcare. ObamaCare is not very good and has actually cost us more money. Our insurance has nearly doubled because of ObamaCare.
MXVOICE.Racing : You had the chance to recover well, today and since a long time, i guess that You advice young riders that You’re in charge of about the risks and what they have to do to be in the best position in every kind of (bad..) situation..?
Jimmy BUTTON : Yes, I try to let athletes know what they should protect themselves as much as possible. You must be prepared.
MXVOICE.Racing : We all can see Top Riders still riding without a lot of protections (Leatt, Plastron..), do You understand them..? Because kids are watching them..
Jimmy BUTTON : I think young riders need to make their own decisions. Many professional riders wear very little protection and every rider makes their own decision on these things.
MXVOICE.Racing : About R2R and the donations, all the money goes to take care of the riders.. Fans can be sure that the funds are directly used for them..
Jimmy BUTTON : Yes, we are not here to make money. We only have 3 employees (I am not employed by R2R) to run the foundation and the donations we receive go directly to the riders. In the 20 years we have had the foundation going we have raised and donated over $6M to injured riders. We are very transparent and you can see our tax returns on our website. We want people to know where all of the dollars go and how its used.
MXVOICE.Racing : How do You see the future, do You think that it will be still the same with big injuries or some technologies will appear..?
Jimmy BUTTON : I think the injuries will continue as the riders continue to push the limits and go faster and faster. The riders are going so fast and they are so good, but when something goes wrong, it really goes wrong.
MXVOICE.Racing : Road2Recovery has took the way of Europe the last years, we can hope to find a Foundation coming soon..?
Jimmy BUTTON : Yes, it has taken a while to get it going in Europe due to getting a foundation started the paperwork involved. In fact, we are currently finalizing that in the UK right now. We hope to do the same in Europe that we have done here.
MXVOICE.Racing : 20 years after your big crash i guess that riding a bike is a big lack inside You..?
Jimmy BUTTON : Not really, I think for some years I really missed it, but now I am very comfortable with my life. I miss the competition for sure, but once you’ve ridden at the top level its very difficult to think about just riding a bike around just to ride. I wish I would have never gotten hurt because I have issues every day, but it has definitely made me who I am today.
(Exclusive Interview – Texte Copyright Exclusif (toute reproduction même partielle interdite) © 2019 Jérôme Faraill pour MXVOICE.RACING ©, Photos : Jimmy BUTTON and Brands, A Big Big Thanks To You Jimmy for your Time and Passion..)
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