Q & A with Tom Burt

Q. Have you ever had a partner or partners that have made you uncomfortable because their judgment seems off? Would you keep going out with them? Have you witnessed lapses in judgment taking out (off-ing) any of your friends?  
AI have been lucky with my choice of partners, but maybe that is part of my gut.  I don’t go out with people I do not trust.  Now I do guide and I have to take care of people who may not make good choices, but then it is my job to make that decision for them. 
Q. Being alive and healthy and able to participate in “risky” sports throughout a lifetime is becoming an increasingly rare and unique experience. Do you think there are reasons some are able to make that happen and others haven’t?  
A. I have been injured but put the time in to rehab and get my health back.  Also I choose to do what I do.  I was once asked how to do you find time to do all the things you do.  My answer was, “We all have the same time.  It is just how you choose to use it.”  I have always chose living over making money for example.  I am sure I could have made a lot more money over my career but then I would not have had the time to do all things I wanted to do because of commitment to companies.
Q. Do you think our sports as a whole are seeing an increase in serious injuries and fatalities?  
A. No, not on a percentage.  There are more people riding so the number of injuries is going up.  The only thing that really has changed is the ability to put yourself in harm way more often.  Put it this way, maybe 1 in 1000 jumps a rider does he will get a injury of some type, well it use to take me a long time (maybe a season) to get to that 1000 jumps, but now with parks and such it may only take a few weeks.
Q. In your opinion, are the levels of our sports growing increasingly close to the statistical death line? In other words is the level getting so high that we are just going to have to get used to dealing with more loss within our communities? Or are we just seeing what has always been the case over centuries - the human spirit expanding the human experience at a fairly constant rate with unavoidable losses along the way?  
A. I think the risks are there and are always in flux depending on a lot of factors.  Some risks go down because of equipment, technology, training, whiles others go up because of progression or what has been done before.
Q. Do you see yourself doing your sport until a ripe old age, whatever ripe old age is?
A. Yes.
Q. Do you think there is any relationship with the level of pushing sport boundaries and a culture of sponsorships and endorsements? In other words, without sponsorships and a culture of popular media would humans push the boundaries to the extent that we do?  
A. People would push it, it is fun to something no one else has done.  Sponsorship uses it and maybe accelerates it.
Q. Do you perceive addressing injury and death in our sports a buzz kill or a much needed dialogue?  
A. It all should be on the discussion table.
Q. What advice would you have for youngsters in your sport about maintaining longevity?  That’s if they listen...  
A. You have to love what you do no matter if you make a living at it or not.  If it is not a passion you will not maintain longevity.
Q. Do you address sport longevity with your kids? 
A. Not really, I just want them to enjoy what they do and have fun.  If it becomes their passion it will last.  It is all about putting a smile on your face.