Friday, January 18, 2013

The Jump That Changed My Life


As far as I was concerned, Wednesday, September 21, 2005 was going to be just another ordinary day of being a junior in high school and having soccer practice right after. Boy was I wrong! Little did I know, this is the day my life would change forever. It is the day that would be marked in my calendar like a birthday, but rather than a celebration it represents how many years I've been injured. It is the day that shattered my dreams of wanting to go to college on a soccer scholarship. More than anything though, it is the day that marked the beginning of what has now turned into an over 7 year long medical journey of having to travel to 5 different states, and endure 22 surgeries all in the quest of trying to get back to "normal".

Leading up to Sept. 21st, there was a lot of activity. Homecoming had just ended 4 days prior on Saturday. I ran what would be my last 5k to raise money for prostate cancer on Sunday. I had the last soccer practice that I would ever participate in on Monday. Then for the upcoming weekend, I had a soccer tournament in Champaign, IL; I had my driving permit, so I was looking forward to getting to drive there with my parents. So like most 16 year olds, come Wednesday, I was looking forward to the weekend.

Up until last period when I had gym class, I don't remember much of what happened earlier that day of school. In the women's locker room, I remember telling one of my teammates from soccer, that I was really looking forward to soccer practice. I don't know why, but I just had this urge to play soccer so bad. In gym class we were doing football. It was a hot, beautiful, sunny day, so my teacher told our class to head outside to the schools' new turf stadium field and to begin playing flag football.  Being the competitive person that I am, as usual, I was getting really annoyed with the guys in my class because it was very rare that they would throw the football to any of the girls. I remember I was just kind of standing in the middle of the field when the teachers' yelled out 5 minutes left of class. A few minutes later, there was one final throw of the football down the field. I stood there and looked up at the ball as it spiraled through the air. As I watched it come closer to me, I remember standing there thinking, "There is absolutely no way that I will catch that ball because it is way to high. In a split second, the competitive side of me kicked in and I thought what the heck, it's possible. If you catch the ball it will be a great catch and if you miss it then it's no big deal". So, I jumped up as hard as I could and outstretched my arms way up into the air. I watched as the ball went past my fingertips. I twisted my body to the right while I was in the air to see if the ball had been caught. All of a sudden there was this realization that gravity was bringing me back down. I felt so off balanced. Panicked, I twisted my torso to the left so see if anyone was next to me to grab onto. There wasn't. It was too late. All of a sudden, crash. I heard two audible pops come from my right ankle and I felt this surge of pain run through the outside of my ankle. At that, I hear my teacher blow his whistle to indicate class was over in the background. There I sat on the ground with the hot September sun beating on me unable to speak from the shock. I was all sweaty, tears running down my cheeks, knuckles white from gripping the new green turf as hard as I could hoping somebody would realize I am hurt on the ground.

As I sat on the ground watching my ankle get bigger and bigger, a few classmates gathered around me. One of those classmates was also my teammate. She tried to untie my gym shoe. I remember kind of yelling at her not to because the shoe would help control the swelling that was happening. I told her to get the teacher and to tell our coach I wouldn't be at practice. My teacher came. He and another classmate helped me up. My teammate ran to the nurses office to get a wheelchair. Instead of waiting for the wheelchair, I got up and told my teacher and classmate to help me across the field. With one of my arms wrapped around each of their shoulders, I started hopping. The pain was awful. Blood was rushing into my ankle and I wanted to scream. My teacher tried carrying me and I yelled at him to put me down because my ankle was bouncing up and down. After what seemed like forever, I got across the field and as I looked up I could see the nurse jogging towards me with the wheelchair.

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