The Broken Ankle Story: Six Month Update!

Since the day I decided to „go public“ with my little injury, I have been bombarded with emails of encouragement and support, questions as to how my recovery is going, and the likes. This is by no means a complaint, to the contrary, it was/is all very inspiring and indeed a great support.

That being said, having to begin more or less every email with a two paragraph essay on the progress of my recovery is not only time consuming, but also somewhat exhausting on an emotional level. It has not been an easy time, there have been a lot of very very low „lows“ and reliving the whole experience 10 times a day is just uncalled for.

Therefore, today marking six months since my injury, and because if I shared with you the bad why shouldnt I share the good, here is a further comprehensive injury/and rehabilitation update. Please, if in the future you begin your email to me with „and how is the leg?“ dont be offended or take it personally if the answer you recieve is limited to a link to this article.

*For those of you with a short attention span, and because Im excited, Im going to begin with what is, at least until today, the end: After being told categorically and repeatedly by several doctors that I will never run again, never play hockey again, and should be happy if I can walk without pain, I today celebrated the sixth month anniversary of the injury by putting my skates and equipment on, returning to the „scene of the crime,“ and playing almost two hours of hockey (6 goals, thank you very much…).
And yesterday, at rehabilitation…I ran for 3 minutes.

*For those of you who join this story late: On April 15th I suffered a serious ankle fracture while playing hockey (ice/inline, in this case inline). To be very precise: a triple ankle fracture (in other words: I broke all three bones which make up the ankle), made worse by the fact that it was a shattered fracture, and as if it all wasnt enough a „pilon tibiale,“ which means that the force of the impact shoved my tibia into my ankle, destroying the surface and causing damage to the cartilage. Needless to say, all my ligaments were torn as well.

After an emergency surgery lasting almost 5 hours the next day, my ankle looked like this. I spent the next 7 or so weeks in the hospital, and had a further 3 surgeries, the last one in early July. I also spent over 4 months on crutches.

All of this is in itself bad enough, and an experience I wouldnt really wish on anybody. But while the physical pain and boredom were of course unpleasant, they were absolutely nothing compared to the mental condition I was in after being told, repeatedly and by several different doctors, that I would *never* play sports again, that I should forget about running, and be thankful if I could even walk without pain.

I am sadly not a good enough writer to properly put into words what my emotional condition was like during this time. So, I will refrain from trying to capture the very much unpleasant mood. My life revolves around activities that all depend greatly on a certain level of physical fitness, so we can leave it at that I thought my life and the world were over, and behaved as if it were the case. Much thanks and gratefulness are due to my roommates, friends, and family who not only helped me with just about everything (I couldnt so much as carry a glass of water), but also dealt with my constant whining, depression, and mood swings.

After my last operation, the doctors described the healing of my ankle and the general perspectives as „nearly a miracle.“ Ankle „surface“ completely rebuilt, no „stufenbildung,“ everything symmetrical…basically perfect. Clearly a radical change from „youll be lucky if you dont have massive arthritis in about two years.“

Positive is certainly not a word which would accurately describe this experience, but it has at least taught me two concepts which were until then rather foreign to my existence, namely patience and humility. Patience, because there is no other way to deal with a recovery process which will, all in all, probably last around 18 months. Humility, to accept that one indeed not unbreakable, and that sometimes things dont go as easily as you are used to, and you just need to deal with it, work hard, and never lose sight of whats important.

I am of course, far from finished. I am still going to rehabilitation several times a week (me in the „bewegungsbad“ with all the opas is quite a picture! :-) ), as well as physical therapy. I am in more or less constant pain, but fortunately not to a degree I cant deal with. I still cant really run or jump, and this is still an important objective. In a few months, I will have to have a further operation to remove the metal from my leg, followed by another several month long recovery time. But regardless of what is still to come, I remain true to „the line“ Ive held since the injury: as long as in the end this becomes just an unpleasant memory, then it doesnt matter how long it takes or how much Im tortured (which, Id like to make clear…has been a fucking hell of a lot the last six months). „By any means necessary.“ :-)

To end on a fittingly melodramatic note, Ive always liked the following slogan, just never thought it would apply to me so much on a personal level

„La Unica Lucha Que Se Pierde, es La Que Se Abandona.“


2 Antworten auf „The Broken Ankle Story: Six Month Update!“


  1. 1 Sebastian 17. Oktober 2009 um 16:54 Uhr

    Un best seller!
    aprovecho decir „de nada“!
    te llevé un helado de stracciatella en el hospital ahaha!

  2. 2 Wendy 23. Oktober 2009 um 14:15 Uhr

    Wow. Glückwunsch zur schnellen Genesung an dieser Stelle!

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