Auttiesh Danger profile -Celebrating Spectrum Health patients

Auttiesh Danger profile -Celebrating Spectrum Health patients

Celebrating Spectrum Health Patients

Amateur Skateboarder Continues to Pursue his Passion

Auttiesh Danger lives up to his name. He’s been an amateur skateboarder since 2000, and nothing gets in his way—not even a serious back injury.

“When my brother and I were kids, about 11 or 12 years old, we nagged our mom to order a pizza,” says Danger. “They had a giveaway with the pizza: a disk of video games. One of the games was all about skateboarding, and I saw how cool it was.”

Most video game players stick with the video, but Danger wanted to try the real thing.

“I got a Michigan-made skateboard, and I got super hyped. I fell a lot at first, but getting hurt only got me more obsessed. I lived in a kind of rough area of Grand Rapids back then, and some of my friends got in trouble. They got incarcerated, but I just stayed on my skateboard, and it kept me out of trouble.”


Years later, Danger, now age 27, is one of the area’s top skateboarders, winning awards for his skill on the board.

“Skateboarding is an art,” he says. “Pure art. No rules, no coach, no team. It’s solely you out there, yet at the same time, skateboarding really connects you to people. Other skateboarders become like extended family.”

Danger moved from Grand Rapids to its outskirts, Forest Hills, with his family, but he also started traveling to participate in various skateboarding contests. As his skill increased, he gained sponsors, and skateboard park owners allowed him to skate for free so as to inspire other skaters.

“When I was about 20, I was taking part in a Halloween skating contest,” Danger recalls. “We were all dressed up in costumes, and the contest was for the best trick. I was skating gap and grind, and when I went up on the ledge, my feet slipped and I hit the ground—right on my back.”

“I saw purple and red spots swirling around me, and I was paralyzed,” Danger says. “My friends laid me into the back seat of a car and took me to a Spectrum Health Medical Group Urgent Care Center nearby. I didn’t have any insurance, but I got the help I needed there.”

Matt Axtman, DO is a non-operative sports medicine physician with Spectrum Health Medical Group Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. His areas of expertise include all musculoskeletal conditions of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles, as well as sports-related concussion management and fracture care. As part of his practice, Dr. Axtman provides advanced treatment using ultrasound medicine to diagnose injuries and conditions that may be causing pain. He also uses injection/regenerative therapy to help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, aid in the stimulation of healing, and improve joint movement.

On Danger’s skateboarding injury, Dr. Axtman states: “Lower back injuries are a big risk factor in extreme sports. If you sustain an injury and your pain doesn’t resolve itself in one or two days, you need to be seen by a physician for a full evaluation. Injuries like Auttiesh Danger’s can cause a lot of changes in muscles around the lower back and pelvis area that can cause chronic and disabling pain if not treated properly.”

“I was told I had a lower back contusion,” says Danger. “It was the worst thing I’d ever gone through. You don’t realize how important your spinal cord is to all your movement until it’s injured. It took me about three months to get back on the board and a few more months before I really felt comfortable.”

Danger remembers all his motor skills being affected, and that he and his friends feared permanent paralysis. “But I was given a packet of directions, and I vowed to take better care of myself.” He followed all the directions for rehabilitative exercises carefully, and little by little, his body regained its strength and agility.

When someone asks him for a health care recommendation, especially when it comes to sports injuries, Danger points to Spectrum Health Medical Group Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

“I always recommend Spectrum Health,” he says. “With all the traveling I do, and with various sports injuries, I’ve been to other hospitals in different places, and the care is never as good. They really take care of you. They build a bond with you.”

Now married and father to an infant son, Danger continues to pursue his passion for skateboarding. He competes and works for various sponsors. Since his back injury, however, he continues to do the strength-building exercises he learned in the rehabilitation process to keep his body strong and resilient.

“I’m very disciplined about all that,” he says. “That was a scary experience, so I really take care of my body now.”