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i broke my ribs and i had fun doing it!

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

 Jay Peak in Vermont is near the Canadian border. One third of the terrain is glades. Absolutely beautiful. They have glades for ALL levels of expertise-from green circles to double blacks. Towards the end of the day I was getting tired but would not relent. Unfortunately, My tip caught a root, I spun around and impacted a birch-back of my helmet, right scapula, right ribs and pelvis. Fractured 7th, 11th and 12th ribs with separation clearly visible on xray. CT did not show anything major internally, thankfully, just some minor lung contusion.


Immediately after the event, I lay in the snow but finally got bored and decided to ski down. I made an interesting observation-as long as I remained 'stacked', there was no pain. The instant I started to lean, the oblique muscles activated and caused intense pain. This holds true even now 2 days later-getting out of bed is killer painful but walking is not. Bending over is impossible but 'curtsying' is painless. I can walk around in telemark all day (similar to the 'silly walk' of Monty Python) but cannot get into or out of an automoblie without slow deliberate motions to remain stacked. Who would have thought that broken ribs are an excellent balancing drill.

post #2 of 2

I feel for ya, Bwana-buddy.


Cracked couple of ribs myself mid-December, felt never-before pain even getting out of bed or into car.  Needless to say, it kept me off skis for nearly 4 weeks, long enough to screw up training for my ski patrol on-hill exam, so til next year I'm an auxiliary patroller (meaning I can do it all except take you down to the lodge in the toboggan).


Lotsa guts to get up and ski down, as you did, but wouldn't recommend it for anyone who wasn't way off-piste and therefore in danger of not being found. 


W/o me saying so, you know how lucky you were, given various impacts you mentioned. But whenever we come upon an injured but conscious skier whose MOI includes possible head-neck-back impacts, like you, we warn them not to move, then we immobilize cervical spine as soon as we've checked vitals and radioed for back-up help w/ toboggan, backboard, cervical collar, EMS and all the other serious goodies.


If there's the slightest risk of spinal-cord injury, you can't take any chances and, even if you can move, you can make matters much much worse (ie., paralysis) by moving around, even if you can initially.  Face it, whenever you're possibly hurt badly while skiing -- and we knew it was bad, didn't we? -- there's no way you want to consider going for a swim in that river in Egypt -- you know, in DeNial (bada-booom!!).


So be patient, get well and you'll be back ripping it up next season.  BTW, I may be wrong, but your post suggests you were doing your last-run glades thing like the Lone Ranger.  You're aware that many serious injuries occur late in the day -- fatigue, bad light, deteriorating snow conditions, etc.  So, when you know the risks are already stacked against you, the solo bit can make a bad situation even worse.  With the various impacts you mentioned, a little worse with any one of them and you could have gone into shock, which, if you're all by your lonesome, could mean curtains.


Sorry for the preachy line here. I'm just back on skis myself after a long long long layoff (not the rib thingy) and I want everyone who enjoys skiing (or riding) as much as me to keep on keeping on.


Be well, Bwana.

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