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September 3, 2009 / Mark Kerrigan

Do you know someone like this?

FallOnIce-738120Have you ever tripped over something painted on the sidewalk or the right field line at a baseball game? I have and still do. I will probably always have some reminder when walking, or running for that matter, that I have suffered a head injury.

I can remember being taken to the Fitness Center at Baptist Hospital–after I had regained the ability to maintain my balance walking–and running on the track there. I got down in a four-point stance, like a defensive lineman, and sprinted down one side of the track on the straightaway. I don’t remember who took me there or told me to do that, but what I do remember was that my left foot kept hitting the calf on my right leg.

It’s just something I learned to deal with over the years. I guess I’ve come to ignore the times when I trip when walking my son to school, because it wasn’t until recently that I realized that every time I went flyfishing, I came back totally soaked!

Even if I’m wearing full chest waders, more times than not wind up falling into the drink for one reason or another. Usually, I’ll slip from a moss-covered rock into two or three feet of water. Often I’ve tripped over a rock or something submerged as I look for that perfect place from which to cast.

I wear glasses, and before I started keeping a holder on them while fishing, I tripped, they slipped off, and because I probably couldn’t find my CAR without them, I did a Pete Rose-style dive after them–even though I was in waders! I wish someone had been filming me, because it would have been great fun to watch–looking back on the incident.

On August 12 of this year, while at church I had a reminder of the fact that I’m not as light on my feet as I once was. While I watched my son on a swing holding a freshly-baked cookie, I looked at the knee-level wall separating us. My initial thought was just to leap over it and not touch it as I cleared.

But with age comes wisdom, and I decided it would be safer for me to vault over it like the Olympians do in the Summer Games. I planted my hands, went to swing my legs up-and-over, but sadly became aware that I’m not as nimble as I once had been.Olympics+Day+4+Artistic+Gymnastics+kxPPnpgZbzsl

I felt the sting on my right shin–nothing I haven’t experienced hundreds of times growing up–and then felt the air get knocked out of me as my chest landed solidly on the wall. Wanting to save face, and thinking that the only thing hurt was my pride, I stood up and started to “walk it off,” as you’re prone to hear athletes tell others when they fall.

“Oh!” One member exlaimed in surprise. “Are you ALRIGHT???” A little embarrassed, I blew off her concern and that of others who witnessed my gracefulness.

It was not until someone handed me a napkin that I realized blood was gushing from my shin at an alarming rate. Within only about 90 seconds, I had completely soaked the paper napkin in blood as I tried to make it to a sink without dripping my blood all over the relatively clean floors of the church.

Come back tomorrow for the rest!


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