Jet Ski racer is never on injured list

Double amputee has national rank

Kevin Green, who suffered a broken back last October, will compete at this weekend's Jet Ski jumping event in Nashville.

By MIKE ORGAN • Staff Writer • August 28, 2008

LEBANON — Kevin Green had been airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital and undergone surgery for a broken back.
Doctors told him he'd participated in his last Jet Ski race

One of the Lebanon native's vertebrae had been crushed when his craft landed awkwardly after a 63-foot ramp jump in Arizona's Lake Havasu last October.
"I instantly knew I had broken my back,'' Green, 37, said. "I felt the pressure."
He also knew that, despite what doctors said after the operation, he would race and compete in Jet Ski jumping competitions again.
"I just kind of brushed them off,'' said Green, who would spend the next seven months on his back recovering from the eight-hour surgery to fuse two vertebrae together using a titanium cage.
This weekend, Green and 300 other Jet Skiers will compete in the Hydro-Turf American Power Boat Association Watercross Nationals at Nashville Shores on Percy Priest Lake.
Automobile wreck

This was not the first time Green had overcome a traumatic accident. He lost his legs in an automobile crash when he was 12.
He had been warned then how dangerous it was for a bilateral amputee just to ride a Jet Ski, much less race competitively. He often wears two prosthetic legs but has to remove them to ride the watercraft.
When Green decided to race in spite of the risks, he met resistance from officials.
"They tried to disqualify me,'' he said. "I was racing in a standup class and I was sitting in the tray of a standup."
When asked how he was able to convince officials to allow him to compete Green said: "I just gained their respect by how I raced, I guess. I don't know."
Green, who owns a marine repair shop, said he had not allowed his situation to keep him from doing anything else he wanted to and he wasn't about to let it keep him off a competitive Jet Ski.
Three-wheelers to Jet Skis

A year after losing his legs Green started racing three-wheel all terrain vehicles on dirt tracks. He began racing Jet Skis about 10 years later.
"I knew I could race Jet Skis. My legs don't put me at a disadvantage at all,'' Green said. "And now I'm out there racing with the best racers in the world."
Green said in most races he reaches 62 mph hour on his souped-up Kawasaki. In separate events he has jumped nearly 93 feet in length and four stories in height, he said.
Green returned to Arizona this summer and competed in the first two APBA National Tour events. The event at Nashville Shores is the last of the year.
He's ranked in the top five in the veteran ski open class and finished second in last week's event at Orange Beach, Ala.
Reach Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or [email protected].