I still remember every detail from start to finish when I broke my leg. It changed me a lot as a person. I remember every detail from the time I got home from school that day, to every thought that went through my head as soon as the crash started, to surgery late that night. I even remember almost everything I was coherent for during my 2 week stay at the hospital. When I got home from school my brother wanted me to go out and ride dirt bikes with him, but I was tired so I decided to stay in the house and rest for a couple hours. He came inside after a while laughing and told me that he crashed pretty hard. I was thinking to myself, that was weird he doesn’t usually crash at all, must be an off day or something. Turns out it was an off day for me too. An hour or so passed and I decided to go out and ride by myself.
I rode for somewhere in the neighborhood of forty-five minutes with no problems, then I was doing what I normally do, about thirty-five or forty miles per hour through the trees and I assumed I would be fine seems how I had done it a thousand times with no problems.
Next thing I remember seeing and feeling my hand get jarred off the handlebars as I hit a big bump.
An instant feeling of hopelessness hit immediately. At that point I knew I was just along for the ride.
Everything happened so fast it was kind of blurry, but oddly at the same time everything felt like slow motion. I remember seeing the tree that I hit, as soon as I seen it I thought, this could get interesting. I no more than got done thinking that when I felt myself hit the tree. Before I knew it I was laying on the ground staring through the tree tops at the sky.
I yelled for my dad to come help me, because I knew just by the feeling in my leg that there was no way I could walk myself up to the house. He came running over to me and we made sure my neck and back was okay and got my helmet off of me. He said he was going to run up to the house and get my mom and brother. I laid there thinking to myself for what felt like an hour about what just happened and the fact that it was september 29th and bow season starts on october 1st. After what turned out to only be a few minutes, I heard footsteps racing down the trail that I had crashed on. I seen my brother’s face appear above me.
He said, “Holy s***, are you okay?! I thought you were dead! All I could see was your leg all twisted up the rest of your body was behind the tree.”
“Yeah I’m fine other than the leg which obviously shouldn’t look like that.” I replied.
After some time passed we figured out a plan to load me up in a trailer and drive me up to the house. As we were driving away I seen my brother pick up the mangled dirt bike and start slowly walking it up to the house behind us.
All he could do was stare at the ground as he walked. And All I could do was stare at him thinking about how I would feel if I was in his position. When we got close to the house he leaned it up against a tree in the yard. As he leaned the bike over on the tree yelled across the yard to him, “Looks like we are done riding together until spring, but this doesn’t mean I am done for ever. I may be down but I’m not out.”
I was so angry at myself that I could not focus on one thing. My mind was in a hundred different places at once. I was thinking about how I was done riding for the year, I was wondering if I could get in a ground blind or tree stand with a broken leg, I knew I would have to learn to walk again, wondered if I would ever walk normally again, so angry and confused about what to expect that all I could do was throw my gear across the yard.
So many emotions in such a short time period.
Eventually my parents took me to the hospital and my brother went to his girlfriend's house to get her and meet us at the hospital. I still remember laying in the hospital bed waiting for a room and seeing them come running through the door. I couldn’t help but think how much they cared and how much it meant to me that they would come sit for what I knew was going to be hours on end in a hospital room. The thing from the whole incident that I think changed me the most was waking up from emergency surgery at about 1am with the doctor standing at the foot of my bed. We talked for a while about how the procedure went and what to expect with the recovery process but the words that stick out the most to me was when he said,
“If you had hit that tree in any different way or with any more force you would be dead or paralyzed right now.” I remember that more clearly than anything in my life.
That is something that has stuck with me forever. It made me realize how fragile life is. 8 hours before that I was having the time of my life doing something that I have and will always love. You may ask, “Why do you still like it so much if it hurt you?”
Even if I think I am going to be fine, I still realize that each time that I put that helmet on and stretch the goggles over it I accept the chances of everything going down hill. I had known that. For me the risk is worth the reward of being able to relax and have fun at the same time.