Aaron Baker, motocross racer, gets 2nd chance after near-fatal crash

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Aaron Baker was a world-class motorcycle rider until a catastrophic crash changed his life. He broke his neck, and clinically died. But doctors brought him back to life.

Baker loved a bike like most kids love candy. The wind in his face gave him a sense of freedom, a sense of invisibility. That is until 1999 - shortly after signing his first pro-contract. His bike malfunctioned on the biggest jump.

"Instead, I landed on my head, and I could hear my neck break. I remember that moment vividly," said Baker.

"I could not believe my eyes," said Baker's mother, Laquita Conway. "A ventilator, heart monitors, every life-support machine was attached to him."

Six days in the intensive care unit, Baker went into respiratory failure and flat-lined.

"That moment was the most profound moment in my life, still is," said Baker. "I do everything today based on that experience."

Passing gave Aaron a new perspective on a second life, and his family was his biggest advocates.

"The doctors would tell them the prognosis, which is I had a one in a million chance of ever feeding myself. I heard that, but I couldn't relate. I didn't know, really, you're not talking about me. You don't know what I'm capable of doing," said Baker.

Just two years removed from the injury, insurance said it couldn't fund any more of the recovery process. A seed was planted in Baker and his mom to create the Center of Restorative Exercise, or C.O.R.E.

"I was out of acute rehab, and there were no opportunities. That was mind boggling. It was like, well hell, I've got this intense desire inside me to work hard, but where is a place that would allow me to do that?" said Baker.

Nine years after the injury, they raised funds for a facility in Northridge. The athletes there are 1 in 5 Americans who suffer from some form of disability.

"C.O.R.E. became the purpose for our lives having been so catastrophically devastated," said Conway. "For the walk that my son continues today, every day he wakes up with a spinal cord injury."

Baker broke his neck, not his spirit. The man doctors gave a one-in-a-million chance of feeding himself again has walked 20 miles across the Mojave Desert. He's biked across America.

It's ironic -- a man with a broken neck is inspiring others to walk the walk when it comes to feeding on life.

"I feed on other people that show that spirit and want to overcome and they don't settle for mediocrity," said Baker.

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