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Ethan's Journey: From Bike Injury to Off-Road Racing Success

Ethan in front of off-road car

Ethan is a boy who lives for adventure and off-road racing. Ethan and his family were no strangers to the thrill of exploring the desert in their quads, Jeeps, and UTVs. In 2015, for Christmas, they gifted Ethan a Polaris 170 Rzr, which he and his younger brother cruised around the desert in, creating countless memories.

In the spring of 2016, at the age of 9, Ethan had his first taste of competitive racing. He participated in the UTV World Championship in Laughlin, Nevada, and from that moment on, he was hooked. The excitement of the race, the sense of accomplishment, and the bond among fellow racers fueled Ethan’s passion for the sport. Ethan dedicated himself to off-road racing. He competed in various Youth UTV racing series, including the Dirt Series, WORCS Series, Lucas Oil Series, and the UTV World Championships. With each race, Ethan grew more skilled, and his dedication paid off. He won an impressive 12 UTV championships and stood on the podium an incredible 84 times. As his talent shone through, he gained sponsorships from many organizations in the sport.

In June 2020, Ethan was in a biking accident and broke his left clavicle. Eric Edmonds, MD, director of orthopedic research and co-director of 360 Sports Medicine at Rady Children’s, repaired the injury.

“His clavicle was not a happy camper,” Dr. Edmonds recalls. “One half of the bone embedded in the adjacent muscle made the clavicle appear as if they were always two separate bones on X-ray. Getting him into the operating room quickly allowed the team to align the bone anatomically with placement of a stainless-steel plate and six screws. Ethan then brought his speed on the track to his healing potential and within 5.5 weeks he had healed enough to start training again.”

“Dr. Edmonds and his staff at Rady Children’s were extremely compassionate and thorough,” says mom, Julie Groom. “The swift repair of his clavicle allowed Ethan to resume his off-road racing that year. Ethan went on to win the UTV World Championship and the WORCS 570 Championship in 2020. We couldn’t be happier with the care we received at Rady’s.”

In 2022, at the age of 15, Ethan faced a new challenge. He decided to step up to the professional level of off-road racing. As a rookie pro driver, he competed in the Best In the Desert, D38, DP4, and SNORE series. Despite his young age and the tough competition, Ethan proved himself by achieving podium finishes eight times. The year 2023 brought even more success for Ethan. He became the National lead representative of the 2024 XP1000 side-by-side, a prestigious position. Additionally, Ethan joined the Factory Polaris Rzr Racing Team as a co-driver. Recently, he played a vital role in helping his team secure victory in the renowned Baja 500 race.

Despite his remarkable accomplishments in off-road racing, Ethan’s talents and interests extended beyond the racetrack. As he entered his senior year in high school, this 16-year-old proved to be a well-rounded individual. He was elected as the ASB president, showcasing his leadership skills. Moreover, Ethan was academically ranked number one in his senior class, highlighting his dedication to his studies.

In his spare time, Ethan enjoys playing soccer, golf, and indulging in his love for reading. He has aspirations to become an orthodontist and aims to pursue his dreams after high school. Ethan’s journey from a mountain bike injury to becoming a successful off-road racer was an inspiration. As Ethan enters his senior year of high school, his future is bright, and he continues to strive for excellence both on and off the racetrack.