Growing up I always thought I was invincible. I was rarely ill, the hospital wasn’t a place I regularly visited and I never broke a bone. Well, that was until March 2019…
It was a Sunday and I’d just finished playing a rugby match for county. I’d walked away from the game unscathed and player of the match – I was feeling pretty good. I went back to the changing room and got ready for the Rugby sevens part of the tournament – which I played all of about 30 seconds of. This is how the game went: the opposition kicked off, my teammate caught the ball, passed it to me, I made a run for the try line, got tackled, SNAP. I fell to the ground and just shouted “it’s broken!”. The game stopped, the physio ran over and I burst into tears – not because it hurt – because I knew that I’d broken my ankle and I wouldn’t be able to play.
I waited for an ambulance for nearly two hours, I was chatty but the pain had kicked in. Although I was in pain, I didn’t mind waiting, as I knew there was someone else out there who needed medical attention more than me. Eventually the paramedics arrived and I was taken to Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, my friend came with me in the ambulance as she wants to be a paramedic in the future – and she wanted to be there for me of course. When we arrived at the hospital I was put into a wheelchair and taken into the paediatrics A&E waiting room, where I received a lot of stares from some very young children and alarmed parents. I was triaged quickly and taken to a room to wait for an X-ray. I’d snapped my lower left fibula, chipped off a section of my tibia and had a talar shift (this is essentially where the tibia and fibula move apart). My ligaments and tendons were also badly damaged. So not great but could’ve been worse!
I had an operation a week later to have a plate and some screws put in my ankle and was in a cast for three weeks after that. I was then put in a boot for 7 weeks and I remained on crutches after the boot was taken, but I worked hard to come off them ASAP as I was doing my GCSEs at the time and wanted to be off my crutches during summer!
I’ve never opened up too much about this experience, and I’ve always tried to make it seem more positive than it was. I was very down as I was missing out on rugby, I was in lots and lots of pain and the painkillers made me very unwell and so revising for my mocks and GCSEs was challenging at times – but I still managed to get all As and A*s. My ankle caused me lots of pain even after I got rid of my crutches and I walked with a limp for a while – which was very frustrating! However, it also brought me opportunities. I went to Twickenham to watch England vs Scotland and I got to meet the entire England squad after the match, I got photos and autographs which was amazing!
I definitely returned to sport sooner than I should’ve, but I’m stubborn and if I believe I can.. I WILL. However, just when I thought my days of injury were behind me, I broke my right Fibula in December 2019 – just 9 months after I broke my ankle!!!! The story is pretty similar, it involved rugby, me running and a snap. One of the paramedics was quite rude to me, as he felt we had called the ambulance for no good reason and that I should’ve been driven to the doctors. We later found out that such a course of action would have been a big mistake!
Crutches and a cast.. again! However, my cast got changed to a walker boot after a week and I was only on crutches for 4 weeks in total – considering my previous experiences, that was seen as a HUGE win!
My left leg still causes me pain, usually during exercise that involves running and jumping (not that that stops me running or jumping.. or playing rugby for that matter!) but I know one day it’ll get better.
My whole experience has definitely made me more fearful of breaking my legs, I have moments where I nearly go over my ankle and my heart does skip a beat, but I’m still playing rugby which is the main thing. My desire to be a doctor and study medicine is still strong, but I currently feel like orthopaedics isn’t the speciality for me – it brings too much back. This could change as I get older, who knows?!
Fingers crossed for no more broken bones, twice is definitely enough!