Miracle on 51st Street This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 5, 2010
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Miracle on 51st Street

Andrew M., a 17-year-old living in Wisconsin, loves to skateboard. He gets out of school at 2:35 and is on his board at 2:36. He skates home from school everyday, hitting up some skate spots here and there.

“All I do is skate. It’s my life,” he says.

Andrew works at Phase 2 skate shop. When he isn’t skating, he is putting together skateboards for customers, or helping them try on skate shoes or apparel.

Andrew’s life of skating should have ended, one blistering hot day last summer. Andrew was filming for his video part in the Milwaukee skate video: Good Morning Milwaukee. Time was running out. Andrew needed more footage in order to have a part in the video.

He and the film crew were at a legendary rail known as the “Green Monster,” which is a green handrail going down a towering 14 step stair set. A rail this enormous only gets one try—hopefully for the best.

Unfortunately for Andrew, everything that could go wrong...went wrong. He rolled up to the rail attempting a frontside boardslide (this is where your back is facing the direction you are grinding). Immediately, disaster struck.
He landed on the rail “ghost foot” (where the skaters foot ends up in the air next to the board, not on the board). The next second of his life will be the only thing he will remember for the next 24 hours. Andrew landed first on the rail, then on the concrete, 14 steps below, directly on his back and head.

Andrew immediately started seizing. Pat, 18, Andrews’s brother, was the first to know something was terribly wrong. He held Andrew’s seizing body, elevated his head, tore off his own shirt and shoved it in Andrew’s mouth so he wouldn’t bite his tongue.

“That was the scariest thing I have ever witnessed. I thought my brother was going to die in my arms,” says Pat.

Pat then called an ambulance and it showed up promptly. Luckily, Andrew’s seizure had stopped, but he was still unconscious. Once in the ambulance, on the way to the hospital, Andrew had another seizure.

The doctors said Andrew had a 25% chance of living because of the coma he was in. The next day, Andrew walked out of the hospital under his own power. Fully recovered.

Andrew has no recollection of what horrifying events happened that day. He watched the gruesome footage of the accident the day after and questions why he is alive.

“Obviously I had an angel watching over me that day. God was probably holding the VX1000.” He laughs.

A few weeks later, Andrew was back on the bolts. He still skates at every chance he gets. He says he wouldn’t know what he would have done if he wasn’t able to skate again.
Skateboarding has a powerful bond to a skater’s soul. No matter what happens, it can never be broken. As for Andrew, he’s going to need some powerful GooGone to separate him from skateboarding.

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