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Young Valley dad lucky to be alive after life-threatening motocross accident

Man thanks Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Level-I Trauma team for lifesaving care ahead of National Trauma Survivors Day

(PHOENIX – May 16, 2023) – A young Valley father who sustained critical injuries following a near-deadly motocross accident last year, will return to Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center this week to thank the hospital’s Level-I trauma center team for saving his life. The father-of-two, who suffered critical injuries and was in a medically induced coma for three weeks, will visit the hospital on Wednesday, May 17 in honor of Trauma Survivors Day. 

Max Loya, an experienced motocross rider, was preparing for the upcoming fall open race season when he wrecked at a riding track in Buckeye in August 2022.

“The day we rode, the weather was great, the track conditions were perfect, but I pushed my limits,” said Loya. “My buddy was heading back to the truck when I told him that I was going to do a few more laps. That’s where things went wrong.”

The next thing he knew, Loya was waking up groggy on the ground. He was struggling to breathe and in a considerable amount of pain. His dirt bike was lying almost 100 feet from him, at the bottom of a steep jump. He had crashed, but no one saw it happen.

First responders quickly arrived and Loya was transported to a Valley hospital by helicopter. It was there that his family was told that his condition was declining and he might not survive. His loved ones learned that his only hope was to be transported to a hospital with the most advanced life support capabilities.

Loya was then airlifted to Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center’s Level-I Trauma Center. Trauma surgeons worked to stabilize him and treat his many injuries which included collapsed and punctured lungs, five broken ribs, three micro-fractured vertebrae, a broken clavicle, road rash and a severe concussion. It was ultimately decided that a medically induced coma and complete replacement of his lung function with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) was needed to allow Loya to heal from his injuries.

“When Max arrived at St. Joseph’s he was in pretty rough shape,” said Dr. Jordan Jacobs, a trauma surgeon at St. Joseph’s. “We are a Level-I Trauma Center which means we provide the highest level of trauma care to patients who are experiencing life-threatening injuries. In Max’s case, we had all the tools we needed to keep him alive for his daughters.”  

Max was in St. Joseph’s intensive care unit for 31 days. When he woke up from his medically induced coma three weeks later, he said his road rash was almost healed but he struggled with who he saw in the mirror.

“I lost 44 pounds when I was in the ICU,” said Loya. “At first, I was so weak that I couldn’t even hold my phone. I felt like I had woken up in someone else’s body. But, I was motivated to put in the effort to feel like myself again.”

Loya underwent inpatient rehabilitation at St. Joseph’s and at the Dignity Health East Valley Rehabilitation Hospital in Chandler before he was strong enough to go home to his family. Today, he continues to participate in outpatient rehabilitation to get back to how his body was functioning before his crash.

As he looks towards the one year anniversary of his accident this summer, Loya is reflecting on the St. Joseph’s team who saved his life.

“The St. Joseph’s trauma team has all the amazing qualities you see in those TV medical shows,” said Loya. “They work together and give their all to their patients. They never gave up on me and I will never forget how that made me feel.”

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Media contact: Abby Kay, [email protected]


Publish date: 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023