The House of Pain

A little background. On January 24, 1998, I was playing rugby (#8) for the Austin Huns. We were battling an old rival from San Antonio, the Alamo City RFC. About 10 or 15 minutes into the match, I was accidentally headbutted by one of my teammates. I came off the field long enough to fill the gash with Vaseline and tape it up to stop the bleeding, then I returned to play.

About 25-30 minutes into the match, we ran a #8 pick-up from a scrum in Alamo City territory. I took the ball cleanly and broke around the scrum to find nothing between me and the goal but 35 yards of open field. I charged. As I came to the goal, an Alamo City player came to make the tackle. I put the ball in my left hand so I could fend him off with my right. He hit me - we were both at a full sprint - as I crossed the goal. I put the ball down with my left hand to score the try as I went down.

Now it gets ugly. Somehow, our combined momentum and impact drove my hand over the ball and into the turf. The two bones in my left forearm, the ulna and radius, broke on impact, right where they connect to the wrist. That would've been bad enough, but then the bones decided to rip through the skin.

I spent the next 8 days in the hospital, where I underwent 4 major surgeries (all under general anesthesia), including skin grafts. My orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Bradley Adams, and my plastic surgeon, Dr. David Mosier, are two of the best in Austin, and I can't thank them enough. When the injury first occured, the prognosis was for 6-8 months of pure recovery, followed by 12-18 months of rehab. To everyone's surprise, the bones were completely healed within eight weeks, and the external fixator (which you'll see soon enough) was removed on my birthday, March 17, 1998. Hardcore rehab work with Sharon Guebert ensued, and I was discharged from therapy in early May of '98, in time for my wedding. So, and I'm very proud of this, more or less full recovery took less than four months. As of fall '98, the only remaining effects of the injury are a scar in the shape of a Nike swoosh, incipient arthritis in the wrist that tells me when the weather's about to change, and a slightly reduced range of motion in the wrist. No permanent nerve, ligament, or tendon damage. All things considered, I call it a near-miracle.

The following pages have graphic and gory photographs of my injury, starting with my arrival in the St. David's ER and continuing through the stages of recovery. I'm serious - they're sick. But a lot of people have asked to see them, so here they are.

If you're at all squeamish, or underage, or whatever,


Okay. If you're up for it, Click Here.

Or you can check out my knee in the House of Pain, Part 2.

Otherwise, get back to the Capitol of the Republic.