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Out cold in Buenos Aires

By pro skater Shanie O'Brien

Posted July 31, 2017
Give him some air: A skateboarder in action yesterday. © Ignatius Rake

If you're going to knock yourself out skateboarding, try doing it where the medics can reach you.

Gavin O'Brien (Santa Cruz Skateboards (SCS) team manager) with SCS pro riders Corey O'Brien (his brother), Eric Dressen and Jason Jessee all travelled to Argentina for a standard skate demo with strange consequences at best.

The demo was in the capital Buenos Aires and the skating went down at a perfectly round 10-ft-high (3 m) concrete bowl with stone coping.

The demo session was going to plan up to an hour in, with loads of spectators loving it.

Then Corey locked up his back truck on re-entry, sending him straight to the flat bottom 'drain' head-first.


This instantly caused mayhem around the bowl as Corey was in a bad way and needed medical attention.

The medical services were called and were on their way.

So far, so good.


Then the paramedics arrived bowlside and gave that look of 'how the hell are we getting him out of there?'.

The spectators, getting bored and impatient, went off skating the rest of the park.

The paramedics, meanwhile, didn't speak English and the SCS didn't speak Spanish, so dialogue was confusing at best.

The paramedics then decided to ignore the boys totally and attempt to get Corey, still unconscious, out of the deep bowl by themselves.

So, two paramedics slid down the bowl to the bottom – and cut both of their elbows open.

Then a stretcher with wheels was lowered down into the bowl and Corey was strapped onto it, still unconscious, and raised to the top of the bowl via a rope.

At this point, all the skaters tried to stop this rescue attempt as it was dangerous at best.

Eventually, the paramedics got Corey to the top of the bowl but fucked up securing him safely and let go of the stretcher, sending him back to the bottom of the bowl, back to square one and freaking out the SCS skaters.

pro riders corey and gavin o'brien
It's not all skating: Corey (left) and Gavin O'Brien enjoy some down time on tour. © Shanie O'Brien

The paramedics then agreed to let the skaters help and they finally got Corey out of bowl after 30 mins and preceded to the local hospital unit.

Corey got to the hospital and woke up, freaking out as he couldn't remember falling and didn't know where he was or any of the people speaking Spanish around him.

So the doctors sedated him to calm him down.

Corey came round again and the situation was repeated without his brother Gavin being told anything.

SCS got wind of this and went crazy in the hallway, aggressively confronting staff and were then threatened with arrested by the local police.

Corey was then taken into a surgical room for a final assessment by a head doctor.

After 45 mins of silence, Gavin pushed the surgical room door open to see Corey still strapped to the stretcher and the doctor smoking over him while a ginger cat slept in the corner of the surgical area.

Fortunately, Corey recovered over night and was immediately flown back to California.

See also A skate punk's lament, posted 13/4/12.

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