The Perils of Hip Dislocation

Three months before I had started lifting weights so that when my senior football season arrived, I could be a starter; something I had not been in my previous three seasons. I was hungry for the chance to start, because I was a senior, fit, and back-up quarterback last season, almost guaranteed me a starting position somewhere on the field. "Come straight home from practice today; we've got to load the truck and take it down to the new house, and don't forget to bring Lee with you," my mom yelled as I walked out the door to go to practice. My family and I were moving into a better part of town. Because of my new found strength, and the fact that my father has had a number of shoulder surgeries in recent years that have left him barely being able to lift his arm over his head. Also my mother has had back problems off and on ever since I can remember. Due to a treetop duel with a Persian cat in which she lost, and ended up plummeting twenty feet and landing on her back. My weightlifting partner and I would have to lift all of the big furniture. Lee happens to be about five foot three inches short and weighs about one hundred and fifty pounds of pure muscle. After driving forty miles every other day for three months to the nearest gym, we became good friends even though he had long hair that made my girlfriend jealous.

During the first two weeks of practice, since the state required at least twelve practices without contact, we had our regular regiment of no-contact drills and long runs underneath the hot August, New York sun. It was usually this sun that culls the weak and out of shape. During thesefirst two weeks we had double practices to get in the required number as fast as possible. Usually it was one practice bright and early around eight, and the second after a quick lunch break. This particular day one of our coaches, the portly, boisterous authoritarian, entered the locker room and told us to get ready because today was the day we were finally going to make contact! Many of us cheered, except for the younger smaller players, whose faces wore kind of nervous cracked smiles as they suited up. I also noticed beads of sweat already starting to roll from their foreheads, much in the same manner most of us seniors had done in our first season at the varsity level.

As the team exited the locker room and headed toward the field, feeling of nervous excitement engulfed the team. I felt a big ball of nervous tension rise in my stomach. This was a normal occurrence because the season before I sustained a very painful back injury during a basic tackling drill.

Once we reached the field we began our normal warm-up routine, which consisted of a number of calisthenics, in order to loosen our muscles and reduce the risk of injury. On this day we all had a spring in our step. Our warm-up drills which usually dragged on for about a half an hour were finished in a matter of fifteen minutes.

Before we could hit, the coaches stood and lectured us on the importance of proper form to reduce the risk of neck injury; which in the past had caused the deaths of fellow warriors on the field. We had all heard stories of football players that were paralyzed during a game. As the stories of these injuries continued to flow, I began to recall the previous season when I injured my back. I had hit crown to crown with a guy going full speed. When we hit, my body fell limp to the ground and a tingling sensation surged through my body like a bolt of lightning. I laid on the ground unable to move. The tingling was soon replaced with a warm numbness.

"On your feet and partner up," the obese coach bellowed as I was snapped from recollection of the gross reality of the job at hand. I motioned to a fellow senior about my size, a guy that had been pursuing the same positions I had ever since tenth grade. The coach bellowed

instructions to the "form hitting drill," that most of us had been doing since we began playing football. I remember thinking in my head that if a player could not hit correctly by now, it was a lost cause. I think it was the state butting in once again. We continued this drill until every player

completed the exercise at least five times. The coach then introduced us to a new skill. He had probably learned at some coach's seminar over the summer. We all went through the new drill nonchalantly, for we did not want to waste all our energy before we had the chance to unload on some poor soul.

Finally after a series of other drills, the moment had come. The large authoritarian, the team's defensive coordinator, chose his troops for the battle that was about to begin. To my suprise I was not chosen for any starting defensive position while three unskilled juniors were. "Oh well, I thought to myself, the other coach will probably want me to get in a few repetitions at quarterback."

To my dismay, the coach asked the gargantuan, class president to get in a couple of plays at quarterback. Lucky "ole" me got to play fullback against a bloodthirsty mob of wild men anxiously awaiting their first chance to make contact. We were running an opposing team's offense against our first team defense. Between plays the defense was yelling death threats over to our huddle. After running through the line and getting hammered a few times, I grabbed the mammoth quarterback by his face mask and told him that if he gave me the ball this time I was going to kill him in his sleep. We returned to the huddle and coach gave us the play, this play was one where the quarterback was to decide who the ball was to go to. If he made the right decision, I was going to get it again. As we walked up to the line of scrimmage, I gave him a look of death. He snapped the ball and handed it to the running back, who followed my block for a large gain this enraged the defense. As we walked back to receive the next play, I heard someone yell. As long as I walk this earth, I will never forget his exact words. "We're going to kill the next person that tries to come through that line." For some strange reason that phrase has been permanently etched into my memory.

The play was the same as the one before only this time the coach gave explicit instructions for me to receive the ball. As I walked to get set, I remember looking at my blood laden arms and thinking to myself, "Please ,God, let me get through the rest of the morning unscathed." It was just about time for lunch, which my mom was going to deliver to my car anytime now. "Only ten more minutes till lunch you can do it," then after lunch was second practice in which there would be no contact. As I got set, a ball of nerves began to rise in the wallows of my stomach. The quarterback barked the cadence, "Even, ready, set-go." The ball was snapped, and as soon as I popped up from my stance, the ball was shoved into my chest. I got into position to hit the hole with the fury of a raging bull, slightly leaned over and head upright to see and also to avoid hitting crown-to crown. I broke into the line, and suddenly the hole broke right and so did I. As I made the move to the hole, someone grabbed my right leg. Being the fierce competitor that I am, I hopped on my left shaking to get free. At that moment the man holding my leg decided to roll like he was taught not twenty minutes prior I heard a sharp pop emanate from in my leg. I stood there for an eternity waiting and waiting for someone, anyone to blow the whistle, no one did. As I stood there not able to move the man under me continued to roll and my leg continued to pop five or six more times. With this I let out a string of profanity that I cannot recall to this day. Just as I was about to surrender and fall as comfortably as possible, I was hit with a barrage of tacklers, including a six foot six three hundred pound bohemian that had already injured me once before. I was thrust forward as my right leg did not move it was still trapped in the armpit of the first man.

As the rest of the team unpiled, I continued to yell profanity. Due to the fierce pain that had now begun shooting through my body. I knew I was injured. At first I was almost positive it was my knee. I thought to myself, "If this is a knee, it can take up to six months to rehabilitate

if it's a broken leg, that will take a least two months in a cast. By that time the season will be over." I was enraged, I had spent countless hours in the gym for nothing my season was over. I lay there on that field under the hot August sun wincing with pain. As I lay there, three or four people that had been watching us practice that day came over to throw in their opinion as to what was wrong with my mangled and twisted body. "No one has gone to call an ambulance yet I'm glad this has given you some entertainment," I thought as I lay there.

Coach sent the rest of the team to the other side of the field to get water, so they were not standing around gaucking. I lay there looking down through my face mask looking at my mangled leg as the constant bolts of pain shot throughout my entire body. Finally the junior varsity coach that had been helping our linemen ran into the school, which was about six hundred yards from where my crippled body came to rest. I began to remove my helmet thinking that my mother is going to kill me for it. I knew that I should wait for the doctor to remove it, but the molded plastic ear protectors began to cut into my neck as I laid there on my left side. I would just have to get yelled at for that one. Coach placed a towel under my head for comfort. And handed me a glass of water that I could never find a way to drink.

I could hear the ambulance coming now, and I kept staring at my twisted left leg trying to figure out exactly what was wrong. I could heat the rest of the guys telling stories of who did it and what they thought was wrong. My mother should be putting my lunch in my car at any minute. The pain was unbearable, yet I was more preoccupied with how long it was going to take me to rehabilitate my injury and get back to football. "How were my parents going to move now I was supposed to do most of the work." As I continued to contemplate the seriousness of the injury, a tear began to form in my eye "What if I cannot return this year?" I fought the tears and the pain I concentrated on coach's voice and tried not to move. "Where is that ambulance," I could hear it getting closer, but since my back was turned to where it would come in, I would not see it until it was on the field next to me.

Finally, I heard the siren of the ambulance echoing of the brick of the school it would not be long now. The pain caused a deafening pitch in my ears. I could now see the ambulance pulling in the gate behind me. I had no clue how they were going to lift my body into the "meat wagon" without killing me. The ambulance came to rest on the field about twenty feet from where I lay. A host of about seven paramedics jumped out. They opened the back and grabbed a stretcher, which they laid behind me. They surveyed the scene and my injury to find the best possible way to get me in the ambulance without causing anymore damage to my body. They decided to wedge the stretcher as they could underneath me then roll me to my back. I did not want to move in the ten minutes I had been there, I knew only a few concrete facts about my injury. My right leg has a forty-five degree twist inward, and it causes tremendous pain when I even think about moving.

The paramedics moved in and placed the stretcher behind me. One EMT grabbed a blanket and wedged it under my right leg and between my legs to help stabilize it. "On three, we'll roll him," the head paramedic shouted. The pain in my hip and groin was immense. As they rolled me, I let out a blood curdling scream they finally got me on the stretcher after three very painful attempts. They popped up the stretcher and carefully rolled me into the back of the ambulance. As the ambulance pulled off the field, I could feel any bump or imperfection in the landscape; consequently, I would let out a whimper with any slight imperfection. The EMT next to me was radioing the hospital about my condition this was the first time that the words hip dislocation were muttered. I thought six weeks, and I am back to football. I prayed all the way to the hospital that this was the injury. It was no less painful than any injury I could imagine, including a broken bone. In the ambulance they helped me out of my bulky sweat covered shoulder pads. But left my pants and cleats on, telling me the doctor would have to remove them at the hospital.

I arrived at the emergency room after a two minute three block ride from the field. I was given a room off to the side. I was also told that my mother had been notified and was on her way. The JV coach that had called the ambulance was in the waiting room. I could hear him yelling about a chair or something. Every few moments a surge of pain would ascend from my hip, and I would scream until it was gone. A nurse came in to remove my football pants she told me because they belonged to the school she could not cut them, that instead she would have to slide them off me. I screamed. I knew that in trying to remove my skin tight pants she would have to tug on my poor leg. Once she got my pants off, she would then encounter a pair of compression shorts that contained another set of pads. She also informed me that there was a problem with my insurance forms and she could not give me anything to help the pain until it was straightened out.

The nurse left and came back with a hospital gown. She laid it on top of me and commenced taking my cleats off there were two Velcro straps and a series of knots. I had done this to make sure they did not come loose during practice who would have thought some nurse would be trying to undo my handy work? After a few gentle tugs and my wincing and screaming, they came off. Now for the tough part my skin tight one size too small football pants.

I began screaming immediately. I closed my eyes and tried to think about something else. After a few minutes of pulling it was finally done. The second set of pads was no easier. And still nothing to kill any of the pain. Finally, my mother showed up next to me. The first words out of her mouth were "Why the hell did you take off your helmet." She said that they told her as she was putting my lunch in my car. She called my dad who was forty miles away at work. After twenty minutes of laying there, the doctor came in and said he needed some x-rays. They immediately wheeled me down the hall, over a tile floor. To the x-ray machine. As we entered the room, I could tell that they needed me up on the table. Six people grabbed the back board that I was laying on and hoisted me up onto the steel x-ray table. While on the table, the technician standing in her booth asked me to move in a number of positions in order to get a picture all the way around my hip. After about five minutes of contorting my body she finally said enough. They would have to get the rest after I received some kind of pain medication.

The six people reentered the room and pulled my twisted body back onto the gurney from which I came. A nurse wheeled me back into my little room. Another nurse showed up with a needle and said they finally straightened it out. "This should take a little of the edge off," as she swabbed my right hip and inserted the needle. She also informed me that I would make the dreaded trip over the tile minefield in five minutes. As the nurse left, the doctor walked in with my x-rays in his hand. He confirmed that my hip was indeed dislocated and they would have to pop it back into the socket. He proceeded to tell me that my injury was very similar to that of Bo Jackson. He described in detail Bo Jackson's hip injury and how it lead to a hip replacement. My father walked in half way through the doctor's interesting speech, which lasted about five more minutes. As he left, he said that he needed to get more x-rays in order to see whether or not anesthesia is necessary. Once the doctor was out of earshot my father asked the status of the situation, my mother looked at me and said, "We're not real sure, but I could tell you all of the ins and outs of Bo Jackson's hip problems," I let out a faint laugh and cracked a smile. The pain medication seemed to do nothing, and I let out screams at regular intervals that echoed through the halls of the emergency room. My father walked over to my bedside and looked down at me as if to say, "What did you go and get yourself into this time." This was the second time I had ever seen him cry. I asked him how he made a drive that usually took me forty minutes on a clear day if I was speeding, in just over twenty minutes. He replied with the normal fatherly "I was needed at home."

When I returned from my second trip to the x-ray room, I was met in my room by a team of doctors. They were toying with a plan to set my hip in the emergency room without anesthesia. Thank god, the anesthesiologist had sustained a similar injury in his adolescence and advised against this. The decided to take me up to the operating room and give me general anesthesia, to knock me out. One more trip across the tile floor then up three stories in an elevator. I could handle both of these tortures as long as they put me out of my misery in the operating room. They wheeled me out of my room once again, I screamed all the way down the hall until we reached the elevator door. Upon arriving at the elevator door we were met by a huge piece of machinery. The doctor looked at us and said "I wish they had used the portable x-ray machine rather than have you go down there and flop around on the table to get the right shot." I wanted to jump up and strangle him. The door to the elevator opened, and I said good-bye to my parents. I told them I would see them when I was done. The doctor loaded me on the elevator and turned me around, so I could wave to my parents. As the elevator started up, then came to a jerking stop, I was sent into a very deep penetrating pain. My right foot was now numb and blue. My left leg had fallen asleep some time ago from being stuck in the same position for so long. I could not wait for the moment for the pressure to be gone.

As the doctors finished scrubbing, a nurse wheeled me into the emergency room. And finished prepping me for surgery. The anesthesiologist gave me some antacid and told me the story of his injury. Someone then gave me the anesthesia. I am not sure exactly who it was or when for that matter. All I knew was that I was getting very sleepy. The doctor asked me to count backwards from ten, so he could tell when the anesthesia took effect. I nodded, and I was asleep. That was the best feeling I have ever experienced in my entire life, the feeling of complete release from on of my biggest nightmares.

I became somewhat conscious in what I figure was the recovery room. With someone saying "Scott wake-up my name is Judy." "Wake-up, can you say my name." "My name is Judy, can you say my name." I remember muttering the name Judy. I remember this part so well because I was so comfortable, and there was this obnoxious person yelling for me to say her name. I opened my eyes to try to make out who was in the room. I peered over and the first person I saw was my mother standing there staring at me with that motherly "are u ok" look on her face. She looked down at me with tears filling her blue eyes. She reached down and hugged me, which made my eyes fill with tears. My father stood next to her with the stress of the day's actions obviously weighing heavily on his shoulders. The pain was reduced greatly but was not completely gone. I was told that when I was first injured, all of the muscles in that region had tensed up to protect my body from any further injury. In order to set my hip the doctors had to pull all of the muscles from my buttocks all the way around to my groin. The doctor came in and told me that it took them two and a half hours of tugging to get my hip bone out from behind my pelvic bone and to align it properly. He said that I came very close to a ten inch scar because they almost gave up. He said that he sat on my chest while someone else pulled on my leg. He also told me that I had three weeks of crutches ahead of me and then three more weeks of rehabilitation before I could return to football. Once he left I finally got someone to remove the grooved backboard that I had been sitting on for five hours now. I sat around for another thirty minutes while I came to a little more, and I was written a prescription. Once that was done, I was cleared to go home. I had arrived in an ambulance at ten thirty that morning and left on crutches at three thirty. In a lot less pain and a little groggier. I spent the next week on the couch coming in and out of consciousness long enough to eat, drink, and go to the bathroom. All of these activities were a chore in my condition. Under heavy muscle relaxers and on one leg. Once I got done with my pain killing medication, I got to enjoy the injury. Because I could not hold anything and use my crutches at the same time, someone had to wait on me hand and foot for three weeks.

During those three weeks I put myself under a very rigorous regiment of exercise on my hip to ensure that when it came time, the doctor would clear me from my crutches. I also started driving again after two weeks. Against my doctors wishes, I was so sick of counting on other people for everything. So when it came time to see the doctor on the third week, I was all ready to ditch the crutches and regain my normal life. This time it was a joint specialist that saw me. Before he even looked at me, he told me that he would most definitely put me on crutches for at least another week. I cracked a smile. Behind everyone's back I had been pushing myself to my utmost limits. I set goals for myself that were far more optimistic than those of any doctor. The doctor escorted me into an examining room, set me on the table, took away the crutches, and told me to show him what I could do. I hopped off the table. I raised my right leg ninety degrees, swung it out to the right, continued to swing it to the rear, and then I lowered it side by side with the other one. He finally caught his breath, asked for one more set of x-rays, and sent me on my way. He granted me limited football practices, meaning I could do just about anything but hit. I ran out to my car threw my crutches in the back and sped away to football practice.

I arrived at the high school, parked my car, and ran just as fast as I could out to where the rest of the team was practicing. I handed the coach my release form, and he welcomed me back. I practiced the rest of the year as hard as I could, trying to push out the awful memories. I never got one second of playing time the rest of the season. I pushed myself risking further injury to get back and help my team and this was the thanks I get. To say the least I am still a little bitter about the whole subject, but it is all in the past. My parents ended up moving with some help from some close family friends while I lay comatose on the couch. My girlfriend was elected my nurse. She had to wait on me, drive me to school, and keep me entertained. Lee was the only player that ever came to my house to see how I was doing. I did not hear from any coaches the entire time I was at home. This left a very bad taste in my mouth. I spent the first two weeks of my senior year of high school being chaperoned to all my classes by someone that carried my books. At least, I will never forget my senior year of high school. No matter how hard I try! Without my family's support I never would have made it out of this ordeal with my sanity.