Kevin Ware, famously snapped his leg in half playing basketball in a US College game. A sickening injury as the leg bent as though all bone had been removed. In reality some bone had moved to the outside of his skin. I saw a horse suffer from a similar injury in a lead up race to the main event on Melbourne Cup Day 2007. Thankfully for Ware his trainers did not erect a curtain around him on the court and shoot him.
It made me think of the worst injuries I have suffered during sporting pursuits.
During a game of mixed netball in 2001 I was playing Goal Keeper against a man mountain of a Goal Shooter. I was winning the battle, mainly on the basis that he either could not or chose not to run...until the last 2 minutes of the game.
I ran out to a loose ball and he decided to follow. I can to a stop as I neared the “third” line. If you step on or over the line in netball the bears don’t get you, but the umpire does and then gives the ball to the opposition. My opposition proved that he stops as easily as he runs. I braced myself for impact and was subsequently sent sprawling to the floor. The outside edge of my left knee cap was the first point of impact with the cement floor. It turns out bone is not a good cushioning devise.
No bruise, but a lot of pain. X-rays showed nothing so no medical assistance was provided. For three months. I hobbled and limped. If I was standing I could not easily sit and if I was sitting I could not stand without pulling myself up with my hands gripping to whatever was available, mantle piece, bookshelf, other people...
In a 1400km drive from Adelaide to Sydney during this period, I was a passenger. We stopped every two hours to stretch our legs. It took me the full 30min stop to be able to straighten my left leg and be able to put any wait on it. I would be finally be standing when the call rang out ‘Ok back into the car!”
All of the limping led to sciatica, leaving me with a continuous tingling in both legs. This sensation worsened to unbearable when lying down. This meant that I could neither stand or sit nor lie. A physio working on my back to ease the pain from the sciatica referred me to a sports-med surgeon. As surgeons do he suggested surgery – albeit that he had no idea what was wrong. Just a little “look-see”.
He saw a fragment of bone that had broken off from my knee cap (or patella if you will) and was floating around the joint often getting caught between the femur and tibia whenever I moved my leg.
I was in surgery just after breakfast (not that I was allowed to eat anything) and home in time for lunch on the same day. This four hour window included surgery, recovery and the initial appointment with the physio therapist.
I have endured other injuries whist engaged in sporting combat. I broke my little toe when trying to give my mother a piggyback when I was about ten years old. No medical assistance required.
I dislocated my elbow on a jumping castle. This required a sling and a disprin. It did not prevent me from driving the same day. My sister sprained her ankle on the same day playing tennis leaving her strapped up and on crutches. If we were seen in public together we told people our injuries were caused by our father.
Not sure if this is really a sporting injury, but I was jumping at the time. I was in a classroom, standing on the side cupboard to hang a piece of work on the wall. I thought I would show off by jumping off of the cupboard, over a student’s desk, onto the floor. I did not see the string that was tied across the classroom to hang other examples of children’s work. It caught me under the right nostril and nearly severed my nose.
In year four, during fitness we had to run laps of the courtyard. I tripped over and cut my knee. It bled. A lot. I almost needed stitches, but it turned out that a butterfly bandaid sufficed (butterfly refers to the style of bandaid not any sort of Disney pattern printed on it). I did get a new pair of jeans as the blood ruined the ones I was wearing, and the afternoon off school.
So I can fully sympathise with Kevin Wade and his injury!
To hear more stories from my life LIVE check out my show at the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival