Brentsville senior defensive end Matt Tudor loves to race his motocross bike -- he's finished second and third in competitions -- but lately he has resisted the urge to compete so he can concentrate on his other favorite pursuit.
Or, as he says, "I've been trying to focus on football and stop hurting myself."
Rupturing your spleen can have that effect. In a competition at Budds Creek Motocross Park in Southern Maryland after his sophomore season, Tudor's handlebars struck him in the abdomen when he wrecked coming off a jump.
All the way home, he felt like he had been punched in the stomach. After an examination at a Prince William County hospital, he was airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he remained for five days.
"He made it through a whole season of football -- a contact sport -- with no injuries, and gets on a motorcycle and is in intensive care," Brentsville Coach Dean Reedy said. "You have to be half a bubble off plumb" to motocross.
Tudor, who also has suffered concussions when racing, counters his coach with a "because it's fun" explanation. He's now riding a 2004 Yamaha YZ250F, purchased at a discount after he did pit work for a race team based out of the shop.
Tudor's aggressive motocross style is similar to his football style, and there are other parallels between the endeavors.
"In football, you want to stay on the balls of your feet, and in dirt biking you want to have the balls of your feet on the foot pegs," Tudor said. "You have to be strong and can't let other people outmuscle you. And you always have to be thinking about your next move, just like in football."
Younger brother Mikey, 14, also rides, as does their father, Mark. All three are members of the Southern Maryland Dirt Riders. Mom is fine with it.
"I carted [Matt] around and did soccer and football and basketball and all that stuff," Sharon Tudor said. "Those were the sports I liked. [Motocross] is something my husband really liked. . . . I encourage it totally because they're together.
"But every time they go, I always have my cell phone on. Because you just never know."