My Last Class

May 22, 2008
By Lena Strickler, Akron, PA

My Last Class
We arrived at the emergency room (at Lancaster General) at about 7:30 pm. I came in on a wheelchair and we went to the desk. They asked my mom for some information, I was given an ice pack, and then we found a spot to wait. About twenty minutes later, my name was called so I could go back and get an X-ray. As I thought back on what happened that night, I wondered if it could have happened any differently.
The next to last week of gymnastics classes was here and my class was having open gym. I had been taking gymnastics classes for eight years, and had slowly worked my way up from beginner to advanced. The skill that I was trying to complete was a round off layout half turn, and I wanted to be able to do one before the summer. After warming up and stretching, I got in a line and waited my turn.
“OK, what do you want to do?” Jonah asked.

“Round off layout bounce half turn,” I answered.
I started running down the trampoline track and bounced, finished the round off, went into the layout, landed, and then bounced to face the other direction.

“Good job!” Jonah said and held out his hand for a high-five. I got off the mat and got in line to do the same thing again. This time I wanted to try to do the whole thing together. I would have to do the half turn in the air.

“I’m going to do a round off layout half turn again, but this time put it together,” I said. Jonah clapped his hands and I started running down the track. I finished the round off, went into the layout, and then I landed on the mat. I knew that I hadn’t done it right, because, while I was landing, I heard my left knee pop really loudly. Before I could stand up, I fell over onto the mat, and I immediately felt pain in my knee.
Jonah came over and said with a questioning look “Are you ok?”
I answered quietly with pain in my voice, “Not really!” I could barely think or speak. I couldn’t register in my mind what had happened. My knee was hurting so much, so I just tried not to shout in pain. Jonah got the owner of the gym and came over and asked what happened. He asked me if I wanted to try to stand and walk, and I tried. I leaned on his shoulder and I almost fell over again, so I sat back down on the mat.

Later they decided that I should go to the emergency room. Jonah and the owner, Jeff, helped me out to our van, and we left for the emergency room. I had an x-ray and we found out nothing was broken or torn. In the end, I needed six weeks of physical therapy before I could walk normally again and without pain. My knee was only badly sprained.
Through this experience, I have learned that pain comes with a price. I had to stop taking classes, and I was so disappointed. I thought to myself, “If only I would have practiced the layout longer. Then I wouldn’t have hurt my knee.” My knee will never be as good as it used to, and it will always hurt, but I’m glad that I didn’t need surgery or anything worse. Sometimes people have to give up what they love to do, so that they don’t get hurt again or worse. I really would have loved to keep on taking classes, but I’m glad that I could have the experience of being a gymnast for eight years.

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