We were walking through warmups, scoping out our competition on the other side of the field. I saw that they had some bigger kids, but no one that I thought was too great. 7...8...9... 10! We finished the warm up and we ran over to the sideline where our coach was going to deliver his final speech before we entered into the game. He talked to us about how hard we worked to get to this moment, all the practices and games before this that we endured to get to this game. We had as a team worked so hard to get here, and his last words were “We got the opportunity to be here, don’t waste it”. Our team came out of the huddle, ready as ever to play.
We called the coin toss and lost, so we would be kicking off. The kickoff squad goes out onto the field and stops them at their 40 yard line, so we were in a decent position. I run out to go play defense. One play goes by, then another, then another. It is very evenly matched. Then, just like any other play, I get down in my stance. Ready… Set.. Hike! Then I fit up with the person in front of me. I see that the running back is coming to my right, so I reach my hand out to try and grab him. I missed his jersey, and my hand lands on his helmet. In slow motion, I see one of the linebackers on my team run down full speed to try and tackle the running back.
BAM! Both helmets crash together and my hand was caught between them. I feel something happen in my hand, and immediately knew that this wasn’t something to just shake off. I motion to my coach that I needed to come out. So they send in a replacement and I run to the sideline. I go to see the trainer and he tapes it up and tells me it is probably a bone bruise and I can’t play for the rest of the game.
I waited for four days, and my hand is still swollen and purple. So my dad and I went to go get MRI at the doctor's office. The doctor gave us the results that my middle finger knuckle was definitely broken, and they would have to do a CT scan to see 100% what happened. So a couple days later, we take the CT scan and get the results. The doctor tells us that he has never seen anything like this before. He said it appears as if I put my hand onto a table and smashed it with a hammer. The hit landed on the back of my hand, which had enough force to split my knuckle into 3 separate pieces. He told us that this injury would require surgery. I knew that it wasn’t going to be a dangerous surgery, so I wasn’t nervous.
I went to the hospital and got into the hospital gown, got an IV put in my hand, and had to wait a long time for me to enter the surgery room. My family was waiting with me and my mom told me that I should try to count to 30 as soon as they put the general anesthesia into my IV. Later on, they wheeled my bed into the operating room. The doctor had me prop my arm up under a light and I could see all the tools on a table. Then they told me they were giving me the anesthesia. I saw them plug it into the hanging bag, and I began. 1,2,3,4...29,30. I think to myself that my mom was completely wrong... and that was the last thing I remember. I woke hope in a different room, extremely confused on what just happened. I have the biggest head ache, and it was hot under the covers. I try getting out of the bed, and all of the sudden, all of these hands are on me, trying to hold me down. Then, I get really scared and start struggling harder to get out of the bed. But then, I hear someone calling my name. I look to the other side of the bed, and I see it is the nurse from before, who put my IV into my arm. “Joseph calm down! Please Stay in your bed” she says. So, I relax slightly and lay back down. Then I realized two things. One, all of the hands that were holding me into my bed were just the nurses trying to make sure I didn’t hurt myself. And two, my hand had just gotten surgery on it. I look down and see this giant cast on my hand, only leaving my thumb exposed, and it went halfway down my forearm. Then in the coming minutes, after my adrenaline has gone down, I realized how much pain I was in. I went home that night and took my medication, which did hardly anything to ease the pain.
In the coming 2 months, it was annoying to do everything because the cast was on my right hand, which was my dominant hand. But finally, it came time to take the cast off, and I couldn’t be happier. I went to my doctor’s office, and sat on the bed/bench. He unwrapped the top layer, and cut off the bottom layer. When I saw my hand, I felt a little woozie since there were two giant metal pins sticking out of it. He instructed me to place my hand down onto a table. He pulled out the first pin, which slid out no problem. Then he tried tugging on the second which did not move. He went into the cabinet and got a pair of pliers. He held my hand down, and grabbed the pin with his pliers. Then he ripped the pin out of my hand, and I still cannot find the words to describe the pain. My hand looked like it had turned 5 shades darker, because of all of the skin shedding that couldn't get out because of the cast.
For the first time ever, I sat out of my next game. It felt so strange, seeing my team play without me. It was a play off game, and I wanted nothing more than to get in and make some tackles. But with my hand, there was a 0% chance that was going to happen. For the first time in my life, I had questioned if football was too dangerous for me to keep playing. What if I had gotten hurt worse? Or if there were more injuries to come? Yet I knew in my heart that I loved this game and my team, and the risk of sustaining another injury would not stop me from playing football in the future. I had grown to become part of the team, and I was not going to quit on my team, because I knew they would never quit on me.