As you can probably imagine, being a driver on the Monster Jam circuit is no walk in the park. Simply put, when you're attempting off-the-wall stunts on machines that weigh around 12,000 pounds, your risk of injury goes up significantly. Even the most experienced driver isn't safe. Nothing hits that point home more so than the injury of longtime Grave Digger driver Dennis Anderson back in 2017.
During a freestyle run at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, Anderson attempted a backflip that ended in disaster after the truck stalled in mid-air and landed hard on the roof. Following Anderson's landing, the crowd continued to cheer, not realizing the extent of Anderson's injuries or even that he was injured at all. Soon after, he was taken to a local hospital after suffering undisclosed injuries.
Anderson's son Adam, who also competes behind the wheel of Son of Grave Digger, told Fox Sports at the time, "Dad's been at this for a long time had his fair share of ups and downs. There's one thing that's for certain he's never been stopped before."
"He's up and moving just gonna have to take it easy for a little while. Can't wait for him to get home and watch my wild children. Can't keep him down it's like he's half man half machine."
Because of his injury, Anderson was not able to compete at World Finals 18. As a matter of fact, that fateful show at Raymond James Stadium marked his last event as a Monster Jam driver. On September 18, 2017, surrounded by fans at Monster Jam's 2nd Annual 2018 Season Kickoff Show, Anderson officially announced his retirement, a bittersweet announcement considering that he gave more than 40 years to the sport. But, it just goes to show that the Monster Jam lifestyle is not an easy one.
This post was originally published on May 30, 2019.