My Latest Silly Injury

I am not necessarily clumsy.  I am generally sure-footed when it comes to scaling mountains, hopping from boulder to boulder, or balancing on driftwood.  My injury history, however, indicates one of three things:

1. Lack of Athletic Skill

2. A willingness to take inordinate risks

3.  Clumsiness

I like to think that it’s number 2, but I’m not sure what that says about me either.  Erin jokes that I am not allowed to try any new sport because I always get injured when I try something new.  She very well may have a point…here is the list:

1992:  The first time I tried skiing I was 13 years old.  I had had a largely successful day at Stevens Pass and we were getting ready to leave.  My dad suggested that we take 1 more run up a different lift (Hogsback).  I was unsure because it was going to require me to go down a blue square run, but my dad assured me it was no big deal.  We approached the blue square run and my dad hung back to watch me descend.  I was going pretty good until one of my skis stuck in the snow and I pitched forward and fell.  I didn’t feel any pain immediately, but was disoriented.  I was trying to get my skis parallel in front of me so I could get up, but I couldn’t seem to do it.  Suddenly, my dad appeared and took my skis off for me.  I don’t remember much else except for snippets of the ride down on the ski patrol sled.  Apparently my leg twisted at the ski boot so my foot was facing about 120 degrees in the wrong direction (explaining my inability to straighten my skis).  My dad untwisted my leg on the ski slope (the doctor later said that while he did an excellent job setting the bone, he shouldn’t have done that).  Yuck.  I’m really glad I don’t remember that.  I was in a cast for 8 weeks and had to have surgery and so forth.  I didn’t try skiing again for 3 years.

2005:  While visiting friends in Ireland, we went to the beach to throw the rugby ball around (I don’t know if that’s the proper term for the ball, but go with me here).  We also were playing with the Hurling equipment (the hurley and the sliotar).  I totally excelled at hitting the sliotar (ball) a long ways.  At rugby; not so much.  We were essentially playing “flier’s up,” where one person throws the ball and everybody else tries to catch it.  In one of the early attempts to catch the ball I collided with another gentleman and felt an immediate pain in my chest.  While I never went to a doctor to confirm, the 3 weeks of chest pain was a strong indicator of a cracked rib.

2006:  Erin loves rollerblading.  She loves it!  She had tried for years to get me to go rollerblading with her, but the whole idea  kind of freaked me out.  Finally, I thought it sounded like fun, so we went to the used sporting goods store and purchased a pair of rollerblades for me.  We headed off from our Nicollet Avenue duplex toward Lake Harriet for my very first venture.  Things went just fine for about 12 blocks until we hit our first downhill.  I don’t remember all of the details, but I lost control on this ever so slight down hill and in my attempts to turn towards the curb and stop, my feet slipped from under me and I plunked onto the pavement.  My dumb reflexes kicked in and I tried to catch myself.  The pain was perhaps the worst pain I have ever experienced.  I looked at my hand and knew something was wrong…if you hold out your arm you see a smooth transition from arm to hand.  My hand, rather than a smooth transition, had a 1.5 inch step between my arm and my hand.

I believe the first thing I said was “Girling, don’t look at me!”  I was really worried that she would be grossed out by the injury.  My second thought was “Holy crap, I think I’ve peed my pants!”  My pants were soaking wet.  It took me seriously 2 minutes to remember that I had had a water bottle in my back pocket that must have burst.  Anyway, this very nice gentleman came out of one of the houses and offered to drive me to the ER.  I told him I didn’t want to get his car wet,** so he got a blanket.  I don’t remember the trip to the hospital except that I was in extraordinary pain.  The only thing keeping me from blacking out was the constant pain.

**I actually remember thinking about this story that Erin had told me about when she was a kid and had fallen off her bike.  She was bleeding all over the place and some kind person drove her to the hospital or home or something and she got blood all over the person’s car.**

So that’s not so bad…3 new sport injuries.  However, I manage to injure myself when playing new sports as well.

1989: While playing baseball, I took a line drive to the forehead which resulted in an enormous goose egg.  The bump earned me the nickname “Elephant Man.”  I hadn’t seen the movie, so I didn’t really get the joke.  It was also way better than the other names I was being called, so I realy didn’t complain.

1990: In 5th and 6th grade I was the king of the tetherball courts at my elementary school.  There was literally nobody who could beat me consistently.  Until I broke my finger defending against a tether.  Right index finger.

1991: It does not snow very often in Seattle, much to my chagrin.  However, when it does snow, the streets are filled with kids and young adults doing stupid things.  Like sledding down very steep residential hills.  My comeuppance came on some piece (gas tank?  axle?) of a pick up truck which I somehow managed to steer myself under at the bottom of “Dead Man’s Hill” next to my house.  The name seems funny now, but not so funny when you have a bloody forehead.

1999: My first Thanksgiving in Minnesota with Erin’s family.  The fellows were heading outside before dinner to throw a football around; a very Thanksgiving sort of thing to do.  I joined them in order to burnish my “dude” credentials.  The first ball thrown to me I went to catch, then lost my footing and landed on my tail bone, knocking the wind out of me.  I spent the next 45 minutes in bed trying not to pass out.

2003: Somehow I manage to bruise or crack a rib playing Frisbee.  I was trying to catch the Frisbee in some creative way and kneed myself in the chest.  Try it, it’s really not an easy thing to do, but I managed to do it!

My injury history, of course, is not limited to sports-related injuries.

1999:  I was crossing the street on my way to my car by Loring Park in Minneapolis when I was struck by a Buick.  I believe I flew over the corner of the hood and landed on my head, resulting in a concussion and a sore calf.  While technically not my fault, my trip to the hospital was memorable; I at various points asked Erin if she wanted to get into the hospital bed with me because she was cold, told the doctor that a CT scan was “probably a good precaution,” and wandered off while Erin went to get the car after my discharge.

2001: While changing the oil on our car I somehow managed to slice a tendon in my finger causing it to bleed profusely.  I went to wash it off and passed out (like drop to the floor without any effort to catch myself) at the sight of my own blood.

2010: I receive a hematoma and now 2 weeks of intense leg pain from a literal run-in with Santa’s sleigh.  We were at Vashon’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.  They closed the main road through town, so Erin and the kids and I were meeting in town, but approaching from different directions (I was coming home from work on the ferry).  After stopping to chat with several people we know that I saw along the way (I love Vashon!), I finally spotted my family.  I eagerly walked towards them, planning on walking in front of Santa’s sleigh/platform that was preparing for the “parade.”  At this point, I must have been thinking one of three things:

1.  Vashon Santa’s sleigh was actually magical and pulled by reindeer, or

2.  Vashon somehow has a self-propelled float like those in the large national parades, or

3.  I am a total dumbass.

At my full speedwalker clip, I crash into the trailer hitch connecting the tractor to the Santa float.  Up until that point, I had not even noticed the tractor!  Sure, it was dark, but seriously, it’s a giant tractor.

I am recovering physically, but that it takes over 1500 words to describe my sordid history of injuries makes me wonder if my pride will ever recover.**

**Obviously put in for dramatic effect/sympathy collection…please ignore**

So the final list of things that have proven to injure me:





Roller Blading

Auto Repair





Celebrating Christmas


5 responses to this post.

  1. Okay, I think I usually say “I don’t want to go to the hospital today,” not that you are NOT ALLOWED to try new sports. Try me some day when we don’t have the kids, kay? Then the trip to the hospital wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. : )


  2. Posted by FatMan on December 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    In light of your history, DO NOT TRY outdoor Petanque! But I might send you an indoor Petanque game at some point.


  3. Posted by Rod Blower on December 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    I really don’t think that you get your “Clumsiness” From My side. I have only busted my Jaw in two places, and broke 3 ribs while sking. I like it that you take risks and try new things. Also I thought that it would be better to set your leg then while you were laying there, then 18 hours later, when it was all swollen up. It would have hurt a lot more then.


  4. Posted by Phyllis on December 15, 2010 at 12:36 am

    I personally am a) very glad we always had insurance while you were growing up; and b) very very glad I wasn’t there to see you get most of those injuries because I would likely have passed out, and there would be 2 people requiring assistance; and c) for the record, I don’t think clumsiness comes from my side either, which perhaps raises serious paternity questions…ha ha.


  5. […] Posted January 19, 2011 by elkboy in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment So I was invited by a friend on the island to play disc golf this last weekend.  While technically not my first time playing disc golf, my ability to complete the round without hurting myself I think was worthy of attention given my sordid injury history. […]


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