I broke my leg playing roller derby in Central Mass on October 16th. Let me clarify that — I shattered my fibula and broke my tibia, the only two bones that connect the knee to the foot. It’s still unclear whether the injury came from a hit, a loose toe-stop, or just simply bad luck. Either way, a natural reaction would be to either hate the team we were playing against, or to start regretting playing the sport in the first place.
However, it is amazing how supportive everyone in the roller derby community has been, both before and after my injury. I love these people.
I remember everyone worrying after a small blowup occurred on the track at my first bout (August 14th, Quadfathers vs. CT Death Quads) and everyone thought for sure there’d be a fight in the parking lot. We had all been hitting hard, getting aggressive, yelling — but 40 minutes later we were all hanging out at the afterparty, drinking, dancing, joking and taking pictures.
My team, the Quadfathers, got pretty much hammered on Saturday, October 16th against CMRD’s Mass Maelstrom (only my second bout). The final score was 183-50, and there were many frustrations throughout the bout – one blog from the Albany All-Stars’ Sin & Tonic referred to Maelstrom skater Muchacho del Oro as “a villain,” but it’s absurd to expect a great player to go easy and let up. And he’s so good, despite his ridiculous shiny gold pants.
With 4 minutes left in the bout, I was hit while jamming (for you non-derby fans, that means I was the one trying to score points) and went down hard. For a split second, I saw my leg go one direction, and my foot the other. I crawled off the track and immediately stopped moving so they’d call off the jam – I knew something was broken.
The EMT rushed out to start checking me over, while my girlfriend grabbed my hand and occupied my field of vision – she knows I’m a hypochondriac, so if I saw blood or tried to look at my leg it would feel twice as bad. For some reason, though, the EMT didn’t think anything was broken – just a “pop” to the knee. He put ice on my knee and advised me to keep my foot moving, even though I screamed in agony every time I tried to. The EMT and Reffin’ Ain’t Easy helped me off the track, and the ambulance was called. (Interestingly enough, when the ambulance arrived, a teammate of mine had hit the floor and thrown up on the track – I started freaking out, thinking he was stealing my ambulance! He ended up getting checked out at the hospital, too, but I’m glad to say he’s OK.)
I was taken to the emergency room where the paramedics’ first question was why I had ice on my knee – they were more concerned with the fact that I couldn’t keep my foot in line with the rest of my leg. They started mummifying it, and took me in for x-rays. I had broken both bones in the lower half of my right leg, essentially meaning there was nothing connecting my knee bone to the foot bone. (And yes, it hurt like hell.)
10 hours later, I was finally taken in for surgery – when I woke up, I had been given bionic parts. My right leg now contains a metal rod, dooming me to awkward airport check-ins for the rest of my life. I also woke to see great friends, teammates and family waiting for me with flowers, cards, and smiles. I even got a lollipop in the shape of a skate.
Since then, I’ve been recovering at my father’s place in Massachusetts, in the same house where I grew up. The zombie-leg staples are out, and I’m doing physical therapy to maintain flexibility and strength. (I’m also hoping using the crutches and walker will give me awesome arm tone.) I’ve been told to stay here for 4-6 weeks, and I should be back to “normal” shortly after Christmas. It’s tough, but dem’s the breaks…
The well wishes from everyone have been awesome, including shout-outs on this video and the Capital District Men’s Roller Derby Facebook. Thank you so much to everyone who’s been helping and supporting me through this. I love you all.