Split Seconds Can Change a Life

January 20, 2011
By jessmarie BRONZE, Elmwood, Wisconsin
jessmarie BRONZE, Elmwood, Wisconsin
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Throughout my life so many people have helped me but this time in my life really stood out to me. I never thought as I was flying through the air that my whole life could flash before you. I never thought injuries could happen so fast but I found out that they can happen in a split second. This event happened at a gymnastics camp at the Stout Field house in Menomonie two summers ago.

It happened on June 23, 2008 when I was at a gymnastics camp at the Stout Field House in Menomonie on a hot summer day. The camp last three days long with six hours of gymnastics every day and consisted of over two hundred gymnasts. There was four groups and they just called them level one, level two, level three, and level four. I just happened to be in level four which is the highest group you could be in, I liked most of the people in my group but there were a lot of people so I didn’t even get to meet everyone. The first day of the camp went just fine and I was really enjoying the camp with all my teammates and even some of my new friends I met at the camp.

As the second day of camp arrived as I woke up at eight o’clock a.m. to go the gym. When I arrived I went straight to the floor exercise and made sure I stretched very well because I was still a little sore from the first day. So I figured that if I stretched better and my muscles were looser that I wouldn’t be as sore the next day. After stretching we split up into our four groups, and my group’s first event was vault. I don’t really enjoy vault but today I just had a feeling today was going to be a good vaulting day! After warm ups we went right into upgrading our skills, I just happened to be working T-suks. T-suks are not an easy vault and they are harder than they look, but I worked hard at them and never stopped until I succeeded. T-suks are where you do a round-off off the spring board and as you are in the air you do a back flip and land it. They look like they are easy and they sound easy but they are not even close to easy. As I warmed up with a few timers we were ready to flip but my coach wanted to have a double spot for my first one. So we had my other coach Travis come over and double spot with him on the first one. My other coach John told me that I was doing another timer when Travis came over, so I waited for everyone else to take their turn then before I knew it, it was my turn and Travis was standing on the spotting block ready to go. I knew what I had to do; now I just had to do it. As I was running down the vault runway I was thinking to myself about how I could make this my best one and what I had to do to make it good enough to flip the next one. The next minute I saw that I took off the spring board and I felt my heart beating faster than it has ever before. As I landed on the vault I felt my coaches grab my stomach, arms, and my legs. Split seconds after I felt my coaches spotting me I felt a hard shove on my left side and I knew that it was not going to have a good outcome.

When I landed, I landed on my neck and a little bit of my upper shoulders and also when I landed, I felt a huge pop go from my neck all the way to my lower back. Right when I hit the ground my coaches knew that it wasn’t good and they were already on the mat at my service. Travis immediately apologized because he knew that the reason I got hurt was because of him. The reason I got hurt is because he thought I was flipping but I was really only doing a timer so he spotted me way too much and pushed me too hard.

I couldn’t move at first so they didn’t want me to move because they thought I might have broken my back. They called the trainer and had her bring up a stretcher and ice, as she came running to me she is yelling at me not to move. When she got to me she decided that they would put me on a stretcher but they didn’t know how they were going to get me on a stretcher because they could not lift me up. They decided that I would have to roll onto my one side and they would slip the stretcher underneath me and I would roll back onto my back and then just slide me to where I need to be. They got me onto the stretcher then realized they had to straps to strap me in with, so they had to use ACE wrap and Velcro straps. The Velcro rubbed on my legs the whole entire time and it didn’t feel so good.

Next, they didn’t want to have to have my parents pay for a ambulance, so they thought for a while then John said that they could just put me into the back of his van and he would drive me to the hospital. So we got the van backed up to the closest door they could and then they carried me out into the back of the van. My coach Katie came with me, and she called my parents on the way to have them meet us there. When we arrived to the hospital the paramedics came out and carried me into the emergency room and had me wait for a doctor. As I was waiting for the doctor, around 10 minutes after we got to the hospital my parents arrived and they were very concerned!

Finally, the doctor came in and he asked me what happened, so we told him what happened and my coach Katie said a few things that she saw that I couldn’t remember, because it happened so fast. Next, he had me do a couple stretches and exercises to see what hurt and what didn’t hurt to see if we would have to do an x-ray or an MRI. After the stretches, he had a talk with me and my parents and he said that I strained, pulled, and tore almost all the muscles in my back and neck, and he also said that I tore some ligaments in my shoulders.

I was so happy it was nothing more serious than that and I cannot thank my coaches and parents enough. I learned to make sure everyone is on the same page before you give instructions and before you succeed. It was a scary experience and I really hope I never have to go through it again. Helping people is a generous thing to do and I’m so glad I had such nice to people to help me and to be there for me.

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