FASTEST AMPUTEE: Motocross racer Ben Stevens has relocated to Mackay and is sharing the story of his motorbike crash and subsequent recovery.
FASTEST AMPUTEE: Motocross racer Ben Stevens has relocated to Mackay and is sharing the story of his motorbike crash and subsequent recovery. Nick Wright

WORDS TO LIVE BY: If something is broken, fix it

DENIAL has never been a word in Ben Stevens' vocabulary. If something is broken, fix it. If something does not work the first time, try it again.

Denial, he said, could hold you back, making the decision to amputate his leg an easy one.

In 2014, the freestyle and speed motocross rider fractured more than 27 bones from a jump that went horribly wrong. Five months on from the accident, severe damage to his right leg showed no signs of healing.

The decision was made to amputate.

He had the advice of the top trauma specialists in Perth: if they did not have the answer, the racer would not have the answer.

"My mind was already made up: chop it off, get rid of it ... let's get on with life," Mr Stevens said.

"Everyone is different in their thought train - for me, I hop on a bike and understand the risks and dangers involved in my sport.

"Everything that happened was my own fault, so the way to fix that problem and move on with it is deal with the situation you've got. If to fix the problem is to cut it off and start again, hey that's what we have to do."

Three weeks after the below-the-knee amputation, Mr Stevens was fitted for his new leg - made of carbon fibre - and was walking the following week.

In the aftermath of his accident, Mr Stevens challenged himself to become the world's fastest amputee, a feat he achieved when he clocked in at 6.61 seconds over a quarter mile (400m).

Despite breaking about 50 bones from injuries sustained on the bike, the thrill of the jump, race or challenge gets Mr Stevens back on the bike time and again. He had to prove to himself he was still the same fearless rider. To do so, he jumped back on his quad bike and nailed a perfect jump.

For him, it's three simple words: "Because I can."

"It's the thrill and adrenaline that gets you going," Mr Stevens said. "I guess I'm adrenaline hungry; you just want more and more and keep pushing it further and further.

"I proved to myself I can look the devil in the eye and say 'f*** you, I'm going to nail you again'. The satisfaction of that pumps me up even more."

Overcoming adversity is nothing new for him. At 22, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and had a fight on his hands to survive.

Through the chemotherapy treatment and hospital visits, the experience was a catalyst for Mr Stevens' fortitude.

It is a mentality he reiterates as a motivational speaker at high schools, hospitals and to other amputees. "I was always headstrong for it. The way I look at it ... it doesn't matter how much you scream, kick, cry or carry on, it's never going to fix the problem," he said.

"It's not like the cancer is going to see you emotionally and go 'hang on a tick, this guy's upset so we better fix it'. That's me and how I deal with it: fix it and get on with it.

"I've taught myself to be like that. Just embrace what has happened and move forward - no one is going to fix it for you."

Last month Mr Stevens made the move from Perth to Mackay to be with his wife.

On Saturday he showcased his bike and shared his story at Mackay Harley-Davidson and Kuttabul Hotel for the Mummas Boys Chopper show.

He will race his uncle, Kim Stevens, on September 7 at Palmyra Dragway.


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