Check Yourself Before You Wreck Someone Else

, , , , , , , , , | Healthy | August 6, 2020

This took place about eight years ago. My younger brother and I join a group of guys for a game of indoor football — soccer — at our local sports centre every weekend. Everyone else is college age, seventeen or eighteen, while I am the eldest at twenty.

Things go by smoothly. One of the guys is a friend of ours, and there is a clear mix of ability so there is little in the way of unbalanced teams. Nonetheless, one of the guys is super competitive and continually body-checks others into the walls in order to tackle them. As the eldest in the group, I have de facto responsibility to ensure everyone’s health and safety, so I gently ask him at the end of the session to tone down his tackling, since he could seriously injure or be injured in doing so. As I feared, he simply brushes it off and says everything will be fine.

Cut to a few weeks later. My brother is unable to come with so it is just me this time. Everything goes fine until a harsh tackle from me on another guy causes me to roll my ankle, causing me to fall hard on my lower back. As play stops, the idiot I mentioned has the brilliant idea of grabbing me by the arms and ankles and carrying me away from the playing area!

While they carry on their game without a care in the world, I am lying there in agony. Between the now worsened ankle injury, they also jarred my lower back by unceremoniously dumping me on the floor. My friend stops playing and comes over to see if I’m okay. I immediately order him to get a member of staff, which he does. When the on-duty first aider — also the manager — arrives, the guys laugh and tell me to “stop acting like a p****,” to which my friend replies that this is serious.

An ambulance is called and my mother arrives after my friend used my phone to call her. About six hours later, I leave the local hospital on crutches with a severe high ankle sprain and strained lower lumbar muscles, and a metric crapload of various prescription painkillers. The following morning, my ankle has swelled to twice the size and looks the colour of a ripe blackberry. I take a photo for my university as proof — I commute to the uni and will be in no shape to get there for at least a week, maybe even two — and settle in to working out how to use my crutches effectively.

Six months later, I start training again to get my fitness back, and my brother and I go back to the football group. Naturally, they laugh that I took half a year off for “diving”…

…until I wordlessly walk up to the idiot in charge and show him the photo of my blackberry-coloured, inflated ankle. I stress my warning back to him from way before, and I swear I have never seen the colour fade so fast from someone seeing consequences of their actions. 

Nowadays, my ankle is fully functional, if slightly more tender, while my lower back has developed into full-on sciatica. Still enjoy football, though!

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