U Doctor Helps Pro Superbike Racer Get Back On His Bike


Superbike racer Shane Turpin normally rides his production-based sport bike on a smooth asphalt track, but in February 2010, he went to a Tooele motocross track with some friends for a fun afternoon spent riding dirtbikes. When he took a jump and landed badly, the result was a freak accident that left him with broken legs and crushed ankles. “I didn’t jump far enough and landed on the frame of the motorcycle,” says Turpin.

Doctors who first saw Turpin after his accident gave him grim news: he would never walk again or compete as a professional superbike racer. “The doctor said ‘I’m sorry. I can’t do anything for you.’” But Turpin wasn’t ready to wave the white flag.

He was transported to two other hospitals before going to University of Utah Health. “I didn’t want another lecture,” he says. “I wanted them to fix me. I told them to take me up to U of U Health.” When Turpin arrived at University of Utah Hospital he met the first doctor who offered him a ray of hope. “He showed interest. He said he would have me on a motorcycle in no time. Just that positive vibe said a lot.”

U of U Health physician Erik Kubiak, MD, took a special interest in Turpin’s case. “He didn’t yell at me or make me feel stupid, he just fixed my legs,” Turpin says. Kubiak took a closer look at his crushed legs and found that Turpin’s limbs were so swollen that blood circulation was being cut off. “They said my legs were dying.” He was given two options: undergo immediate surgery to try to save his legs or face certain amputation if they didn’t operate. There was only one choice for Turpin—surgery. “I didn’t care about the consequences, I just needed my legs,” he says.

Dr. Kubiak was spot-on with his prognosis. Less than two months after surgery, and with his legs only partially healed, Turpin got back on his bike and took the track like a true champion. “I went out and set the fastest lap of the day with my legs broken.” After getting the red light from multiple doctors, it was Dr. Kubiak who gave him the green light to take the racing world by the throttle again. “I’ve never met a doctor like him,” Turpin says. “Erik was a game changer. He’s like a hero to me.”

Turpin knows exactly where to go if he gets injured again. “I’ll just go back to U of U Health.” That’s where he found a doctor who offered him hope and a solution to getting back on his feet and ultimately back to doing what he loves—competing on his bike.

Now, this superbike racer is back on track, taking life one lap at a time.

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