In August 1987, I was riding my bike to a friend’s house. He only lived a short distance away, so riding there was “no big deal.” As I came to an intersection at the crest of a small hill, I looked for traffic, saw all was clear and crossed the road. I nearly made it across, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a car coming. But it was too late. The car clipped my back tire and threw me about 30 feet. I blacked out right before impact and woke up when I hit the ground. I was lying face down and couldn’t move.
A passerby stopped to help me by covering me with a blanket and calling for help. The car that hit me stopped for a second, then sped off and was never found. I was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where I underwent two surgeries to fix a fractured leg, including a skin graft on my calf. I spent a month in the hospital lying on my back with my leg in traction.
Around week three in the hospital, I was wheeled down to physical therapy, where they pulled me up to the parallel bars. A physical therapist stood beside me and counted down from three, while I grabbed the bars and began to try and stand. The instant I did, however, the blood rushed out of my head, and I passed out. After regaining consciousness, I noticed two other physical therapists around me. Without batting an eye, they looked at me and said, “OK, are you ready now?” At this moment, I knew this was going to be the job for me.
I spent the next six months rehabilitating with PTs and sports coaches. By the spring, I was back to playing baseball, and my career path was set. In as much as this event helped shape my life, it also helped shape my patient care philosophy. On a daily basis I appreciate even more the many challenges my patients face on their path back to wellness.
Injuries are not fun, they hurt and they’re frustrating, but with guidance and work you can achieve your goals and get back to the life you love.