My list of injuries with some stories to go along

Posted on January 22, 2013

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Even this will make an appearance soon.

Use with caution.

Last year I went on a vacation with some buddies and it was the first time we saw one another since turning 25. I remember talking to my friend Murph about this. Murph played high school football with me; he’s someone who was with me during many of these injuries.

Me “How do you feel about being 25 now?”

Murph “Honestly, dude I’m not sure I ever thought I’d make it this far.”

Me “Right? I think back at the ridiculous shit we did and I’m amazed we’re even here.”

Sometimes people reference their injuries with a badge of honor. Almost bragging about them. Well, let me tell you, going through this list makes me feel lucky I’m fucking alive, forget about inflating my ego.

Especially considering this doesn’t take into account all the absurd things we did where we didn’t get hurt.

While you ran around and played tag, we played car tag. (It’s just like it sounds.) We didn’t do this in the middle of a field in Nebraska; we played this in New Jersey. The most densely populated state in the country.

If anyone is wondering, a Toyota Corolla can turn on a dime and most certainly can go off-road. Sure, it may get stuck in the middle of the baseball field of your middle school, but I still blame the driver for that one.

Or the time we set up a friend’s back porch as a ring and started our own Fight Club.

Or when me, a friend, and my brother snuck into a park at midnight so we could go sledding…in the pitch black…on ice.

Or, instead of 10 cup beer pong, how about 210 cup?

210 cup beer pong

In case you thought I was exaggerating. And the blue cups are “special” cups.

As well as when a friend and I snuck into a recycling center so we could start a bon fire. (We liked the recycling center because of all the glass- glass makes a very loud sound after it reaches a certain temperature.)

Me: [After we get caught by a manager] Excuse me sir, could you tell me how you knew what we were up to? I’m just surprised considering how late it is. Figured everyone was in bed.

Manager: “ARE YOU INSANE?!? I had five people call me about this. I could see the fire from my house, which is two miles away.”

Thank god I was only 13 years old.

The reasons for this list are:

1) It’ll be a nice addition to my bio section where newcomers to the site can get a better feel for me. 

2) I’m predominantly surrounded by people older than me. I’m not sure why, but I only have few friends my age; most are 5-10 years older, and most of my clients are above that. I hear it’s because I’m “mature for my age,” which is ludicrous because these people clearly don’t know how much the act of farting makes me laugh.

Anyways, I constantly hear “Wait til you get to be my age, your body will feel differently after the wear and tear.” Almost declaring I can’t empathize or one doesn’t know what pain is until a certain age. While I am friends with these people, and genuinely enjoy many of them, this list is a rebuttal / friendly big middle finger to them.

3) Contemplating this list the last year became a primary force for making some drastic changes to my lifestyle. The biggest change being my indefinite hiatus from recreational sports.

I’ll go into some detail for the injuries with a noteworthy story behind them.

Let the fun begin:

  • Broken toe ->

I got this chasing down a mugger.

Short version of this story: I’m in Boston a few years ago and I’m bombed. I’ve never drank there, it’s about 2:30am and I have no idea where I am.

A guy comes up to me and says hi. He seems cool, he is by no means threatening, so I ask him for directions. He takes me to a side street where I promptly get mugged by him and his buddy. I don’t get beat up or anything; instead the guy’s friend pulls a gun on me and I quickly vacate my belongings.

Out of no where a van drives down this side street where the two guys freak out and run. The van driver asks me what happened and I’m so distraught I can’t speak.

In the midst of trying to form a coherent response I start thinking how the guys ran separate directions. The guy without the gun is the one who took my stuff; he ran one way. The other guy was holding the gun, and he ran another way.

I haven’t talked in about 15 seconds,

Van Driver “Hey man! Are you ok?! What just happened???”

Me [Begin SPRINTING after the guy with my stuff]

30 seconds later I catch up to the guy -at this point he’s walking- when he hears me on the other side of the street,

Me “YOU [expletive, expletive, expletive] GIVE ME BACK MY [expletive, expletive, expletive] WALLET”

He begins running again.

I cross the street to go after him, my sandal proceeds to rip in half, and I go face first into the ground. Without hesitation I get back up and start running barefoot (on concrete mind you) through the streets of Boston.

The guy is within sight again,

Me “YOU WILL NEVER OUTRUN ME!!! I PLAYED DIVISION I FOOTBALL!!!”

This is especially humorous because I played at a very small, very unnoteworthy college football program. Did I mention I’d been drinking?

This time, rather than run up to the guy where he can see me coming, I catch him from behind.

It may have took 4 hours to find my way home, with bloody shorts, a bloody elbow, a bloody leg, a broken toe, and an absolutely filthy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt on, but I found my way home with my wallet in hand.

Man, I love that city.

  • Turf toe
  • Achilles tendinitis (Rt. foot)
  • Achilles tendinitis (Lft. foot)
  • Plantar Fasciitis (Lft. foot)
  • Probably 15-20 ankle sprains ->

Over the years an ankle sprain didn’t even qualify as an injury anymore. The only way this would stop me was if I couldn’t put a shoe on. Such as, 

  • One high ankle sprain ->

This was so bad I was hospitalized and couldn’t walk without crutches for about 2 weeks. I wish I still had pictures. After seeing my ankle the orthopedist went, “Uhh, you would have been better off if you just broke the thing.” The swelling was actually so severe in the hospital I couldn’t put my foot below my chest. If I did it felt like my ankle was going to explode from so much blood going to the area.

It took over a year for me to be able to get up in the morning and not think about my foot / ankle. Third worst injury on the list.

The only good thing about this injury was I had the absolute most stunning female X-Ray tech helping me.

Her “Ok, we’re all done. Time to send you back to the doctor.”

Me “Are you sure??? I think I moved too much, plus my other ankle hurts. We should probably get an image of that. You know, let’s just do the whole body. I’m sure we’ll find something.”

I remember coming back and joking with my friend Shaun, who had the same injury, on the same day, in the same football game, and was in the ER room next to mine, that I’d break his other ankle if he broke mine, just to get another X-Ray.

  • Torn meniscus

Torn meniscus

  • Torn ACL ->

In terms of overall recovery, this is the worst of everything. The depression that came along was something I expected, but not to the degree I experienced. I’ve written extensively about my ACL experience here. 

Tunnel for torn ACL

The hole drilled for my reconstructed knee.

  • Partially torn patellar tendon (Rt. Knee)
  • Sprained LCL (Rt. Knee)
  • Sprained MCL (Lft. Knee)
  • Probably 6-8 hamstring strains -> I remember these vividly because they are a bitch to treat.
  • 3 groin strains -> Much like a hamstring strain.
  • Rectus femoris (hip flexor) strain
  • Lower back ->

I fucked my lower back up more times than I want to think about. I’m pretty sure if a MRI was done the diagnosis would come back as “Shotgun wound.” I don’t even want to know what it looks like. The last time I hurt this was a couple years ago playing football and I literally couldn’t stand up straight for a couple of days.

  • Dislocated elbow ->

In terms of pain, by far the worst the injury I’ve had. It’s not even close.

How well do I remember this? April 10th, 2006. That well.

It felt as if a grenade was put into my elbow joint and detonated.

Immediately after the injury I was laying on the ground writhing in pain. The medical staff was so scared if I moved too much I could rupture an artery -causing my arm to be amputated, or me dying- that I had to have an ambulance take me off the field.

You know how your humerus connects into your ulna and radius?


humerus radius and ulna

When the X-Ray came back my humerus, ulna, and radius, were all on top of one another. My arm was shortened by about 6 inches.

elbow dislocation

Similar to this.

When I was in the hospital and the doctor put my elbow back in I was SCREAMING for God to help me and take the pain away. (Anyone who knows me well realizes the humor in this.)

My roommate Shaun (from the aforementioned ankle story) told me afterwards, “Dude, I’ve never heard someone yell like that. It was disturbing. I’m pretty sure I’m going to hear your voice in my nightmares now.”

This was AFTER I was given 1200mg of ibuprofen, an IV of morphine, and knocked out with anesthesia!!!

It gets better,

Nurse “Ok Brian, we’re about to put the mask on you. You’ll be out for an hour to an hour and a half, at least.”

Me “More drugs. NOW.”

[Mask goes on]

Me [15 minutes later…clearly feeling my elbow being moved around…I begin to mutter something]

Nurse “Oh my god he’s waking up!”

Doctor “Up the dosage!”

I woke up in the middle of them manipulating my elbow to put it back into place. Wonderful.

My arm bruised up so badly from this I was black and blue from my shoulder to my swollen, Shrek-like fingers.

However, for those who love silver linings: This happened on a particular girl’s birthday. Because it was her birthday she was hanging out with some friends of mine, found out I was in the hospital, and, despite the fact we hadn’t talked in a month, contacted me to see how I was doing.

Next thing I know we’re hanging out everyday, to the point we’re completely inseparable. And it’s because I couldn’t play football I suddenly had a lot more free time.

We end up dating for two years and I have the most formative relationship of my life.

What was the most physically painful experience of my life, I’d never take back.

Crazy how things turn out.

  • Partially torn long head of the triceps

Torn tricep

  • Dislocated ring finger
  • Dislocated index finger
  • Broken pinky finger
  • Wrist sprains
  • Thumb sprain -> Actually had to be casted up. I remember because I was 12 and couldn’t play video games.
  • Sprained AC joint (Shoulders) -> More than I can remember. One of which necessitated the emergency room.

Here is my favorite shoulder story: After the sprain which sent me to the E.R. our football team held a charity golf event.

For this the captains of the football team (me included) are in charge of making sure all 18 holes run smoothly. For this duty we are awarded golf carts.

I don’t need to tell you how giving multiple golf carts to a group of 17 year old guys is a bad idea, do I?

We go ape shit with these things. I’m talking chasing one another around, going full speed over hills to see whether we can get our heads to hit the ceiling of the cart, etc. I’m in a sling the whole time this is going on.

Finally, Rich (who is riding with me) asks if I think these things can go off-road. Only one way to find out…

I turn the golf cart toward a bunker to test Rich’s question. Unfortunately, it takes us a little while to realize this bunker is one with about a two foot drop into it. Rich screams out, “OH FUCK! TURN! TURN!!!”

I violently turn the golf cart, praying I can avoid the bunker, and it’s too late.

Me, Rich, and the full speed golf cart, BARREL ROLL into the bunker.

I cannot be more literal. This golf cart does 2-3 sideways revolutions, Rich and I go flying out of the cart into the sand, which is when I land on my shoulder.

(Remember this is a swanky golf course, during a football team charity event, and we are captains of said football team.)

Rich and I frantically get up, stare at one another -each like a deer in headlights- throw the golf cart back on all four wheels, and speed out of the bunker. Leaving tire tracks all through the thing.

Rich grabs the wheel and tells me I’m never driving again.

For about 15 minutes we act like nothing happened. You know, like it’s perfectly normal for two human bodies to be launched out of a spiraling golf cart.

Then,

Me “Sooo, we didn’t really find out if this thing can go off-road. I don’t think a bunker really qualifies.”

Rich “I hate you.” [Veers off towards the nearby woods.]

Of course, we get the cart stuck. We have to call one of the other captains, the three of us then deadlift the cart out of the mud, and we race towards the after event banquet.

Our head coach finds us, talks to us; doesn’t seem like he knows anything. Whew.

As we start walking to lunch,

Coach “Richard, why is there mud all over your back?”

  • Stinger / Burner ->

If you never played football you’ve probably never heard of this.

Here’s the best way to describe it: You hit somebody with your head / neck, then, out of nowhere, your entire arm is on fire. I’m talking you feel like gasoline has just been lit on your arm. The entire arm and hand goes dead and you can’t move it for a minute or so.

I had at least 20 of these. Particularly in college when I was having neck issues.

  • Concussion ->

One I know I had, and, unfortunately, I probably had a couple others but didn’t know it.

After all the news on these NFL players I’m quite nervous I’m going to hit 30 years old and just start randomly defecating everywhere; thinking I’m always in a bathroom. Kind of like my friend Jon does when he’s drinking.

  • Black eyes
  • Stitches to the top of my head
  • Stitches to my chin
  • Stitches to my chin
  • Stitches to my chin ->

Yes, 3 separate occasions I’ve been in the hospital for this. First time I got a helmet to the chin during football, second time I got a head to the chin during basketball, third time I tried riding my bike while drunk. (Unfortunately this is not a joke.)

This list doesn’t include the innumerable bruises I’ve had. And I don’t just mean, “Oh, look my shin has a black and blue mark.” I mean, “Oh, it’s kind of weird my entire leg is black and blue.”

One of the reasons I’m decent at my job is I’ve had nearly every injury a typical person will have. Thankfully, I’ve healed from all of them and walk around most days without a problem.

When you’re able to not only tell someone “I’ve helped people with that before,” but “I’ve helped people with that before, and I’ve had that myself,” it helps quite a bit.

So when you tell me your lower back / knee / shoulder / whatever hurts, I get it. I probably get it better than you do.

After all this, all I can is think is thank heaven,

“Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory…lasts forever.”

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