I am unable to sleep. I have thoughts rolling around in my mind. Thoughts about being a voice for those athletes who are in pain and heartbroken by sharing my story.
I looked through pictures today of when I wore a cast, then splint with a sling and now forever have a crooked humerus. Although I don’t have a scar, I have a bone that’s not it’s normal shape because of a snowboarding accident 10, almost 11 years ago. Something I have to live with for the rest of my life.
People tell me they don’t notice my arm at an angle, but I can and I feel it. This is my daily reminder of what happened, the story I need to share, and the person I have become because of it. My passion and desire runs deep because of this accident. It’s the reason I want to help athletes in a similar situation.
During my sophomore year of college, on Presidents Day weekend, I was up in Big Bear, CA snowboarding with friends. I grew up on the slopes and nothing has ever happened to me before this. I was a go-getter little skier and decided to switch to snowboarding at age 12 and have been boarding ever since. I love it. It brings me so much joy. However, on this particular day in 2008, I was going fast like I usually do, but hit ice and went flying. I landed directly on my humerus, fracturing it in half. I scraped my chin in the process and strained tendons in my hips as well. I was a mess.
At the time I was playing on the club volleyball team at my college, which due to this accident I was unable to play for the rest of the season. I faced adversity, almost had to drop out of college for missing over 2 weeks of classes, went through a state of depression, but didn’t give up. I worked hard in Physical Therapy to regain my mobility and strength to be able to function and use my right arm again. I wanted to be able to play sports because this is who I am. I am an athlete. I didn’t know myself outside of sports. This was my identity.
I have grown up playing all different sports, but especially taking a liking to volleyball playing year round all through high school. When people would ask me if I would ever snowboard again, you know what my answer was? “Heck yes! I’m not giving up something I love.”
Some may not be able to do the sport they love to the capacity they once were, but if you work hard and have community surrounding you, most likely you will get pretty close. I don’t do jumps and ride boxes like I used to, but that doesn’t mean I won’t go down the steep slopes. You can usually find me at the top of the mountain. I also still love playing volleyball and have taken up beach volleyball here in San Diego.
My arm is forever crooked. I can see it when I look at myself in the mirror. I have thoughts about how I am going to stand and cover it on my wedding day. But this is a part of me. This is my story and it’s time I use my story to relate and help others. I know I’m not the only one. I can’t help but think about the thousands of people who are much like me.
I wish I had someone to talk to about this who truly understood what I was going through. Someone who could relate to the pain and heartache of not knowing if I will ever be able to do the sports I love again.
Through this process of hurt and having my identity as an athlete stripped away from me in that moment, I came to realize being an athlete is not my identity. It’s not who I am. Rather, being an athlete is what I do and enjoy.
I am a daughter of God. I am a light to the world. I carry joy wherever I go because this is who God has made me to be. Maybe you are in a place you don’t know who you are or what to do next. Maybe you are carrying this guilt and shame, hurt and resentment, because of “if only I just… this would not have happened.” But it has and it’s time to grieve, process, and move on.
God can use this story of yours to impact those around you. It’s time to fight and not give up. You were made for a purpose and your life will be a journey of discovering that call and it will morph and change overtime. Mine has. I am not who I was 10 years ago. I will not let life happen to me, but use the life I’ve been given for the greater good.
Glory to God. He is the one who was with me in my darkest moments and now he is using them for good.
If you have a story to tell, I would love to hear it. I’m all ears. I enjoy listening to people’s stories. We are in this together! Comment below or send me a private email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I have created a way to process this pain and heartache. Click here to learn more!
You are not alone.