Ski-Gull 2010: The Epic Crash

3Ski-Gull turned out to be not the greatest weekend for me. I raced well and made all of my finals- taking home two seconds, four thirds, and one fourth by the end of the day. The trouble I had with the weekend was actually with my first race of qualifying for the weekend. It had gotten cold on Friday night and the track was pretty firm on Saturday morning for racing. I won my first race, but I got a little sideways going across the finish line jump. I tried to straighten the sled back out in the air and save the landing, but with how hard the snow was, I got tossed from the sled when I landed a little sideways. I hit the ground hard and got the breath knocked out of me while my 800 proceeded to flip a few times before coming to a stop. I got right up and got the sled back right side up and proceeded to race out the rest of the day. I hurt quite a bit and was a little short of breath, but I figured with how hard I landed that I had bruised or possibly broken some ribs. There’s really not a whole lot to do to treat broken ribs, so I figured I’d tough it out and keep racing. After all, there were TV cameras rolling and I’m still leading all of the Pro classes overall. After all the races were over I was still in quite a bit of pain, and still a little short of breath so I figured I better head to the ER and see if I really did break some ribs. Turns out I had a right pneumothorax (collapsed lung). It was more than just mildly collapsed (my right lung was about 30% collapsed), so a surgeon came in and placed a chest tube right away to help inflate my lung. Having a chest tube placed is the most painful thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I guess I’ve never had to deal with much for medical problems other than having my wisdom teeth removed, but this was a totally different kind of pain. I’m used to being sore and having quite a bit of muscle aches and pains from racing, but having a chest tube is like getting stabbed in the chest from the inside, constantly. Every time you take a deep breath or move (the tube is hooked up to a drain and suction, so there’s always some sort of tension on it) it hurts. There was still an air leak in my chest tube on Sunday morning, so I earned myself another day in the hospital with the chest tube. Today, Monday, is going much better. The air leak in my lung has stopped, so I was pulled off of suction and just had my tube placed on a water seal drain. At noon another x-ray came back as normal with my lung still inflated well, so I got to have the tube removed. What a relief and decrease in pain that was. As I sit here now at 3:15 pm in my hospital bed, I’m waiting for one more x-ray at 4:30. If it comes back normal, I get to go home tonight. This whole experience is pretty crazy, especially racing a whole day with a collapsed lung and actually doing pretty well. The only problem now is that I probably shouldn’t be racing any more this season. I’ll have to see how the points look after this weekend, I could always go next weekend and just take starts and maybe get enough points to still win some classes overall. I should have some pictures from racing, and maybe an x-ray to put up on here later this week. I’m hoping that the crash and a few of my races make it on SpeedTV, but we’ll have to see when the shows air in a few weeks.

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