Stronger than before

By: Matthew Rasmussen

2 Votes

Stronger than before - Matthew Rasmussen

Burlington High School


When I was a sophomore in high school I really enjoyed riding horses; it was one of my favorite things to do. So one day I was riding my horse and something scared it from behind and it instantly took off running as fast as it possibly could. I frantically tried pulling back on the reins to try and stop it but it was to no avail the horse jumped up in the air and threw me off into a large pile of rocks and weeds. The next several minutes went black for me and the next thing that I remember is waking up in an ambulance being driven to the nearest hospital. My entire body was numb and I couldn't move my arms or legs! I asked the EMTs if I was alright or if I was going to be able to walk again but neither of them answered me or even acknowledged that I said something! That was probably the most scared I have ever been in my life not knowing whether I was going to live or die or if I was going to be paralyzed for the rest of my life!

I finally got to the hospital where I would be put through a series of scans and tests, I drifted in and out of consciousness and only grew more scared as I saw the horrified and worried looks of my parents and siblings. Was this the end, had I lived my life just to die at this moment? This was a question that I would ask myself for the next several hours as I was being life lighted to a much larger hospital in case I would need brain surgery. I was then put into the intensive care unit where I was carefully monitored for the next several days. It turned out that I wouldn't need brain surgery so that was a relief; but my journey was far from over. I was then sent home a few days later with a broken collar bone and stitches in my forehead.

I had barely been home an hour when I started having terrible migraines and was then rushed to the hospital where they did another series of tests and scans. Except for this time they had to do a spinal tap, which is just about the worst feeling that I have ever experienced. The doctor sticks a long needle in your back and then twists and jerks it around; and when he pulled out the needle it felt as if someone was pulling an arrow out of my back, all the while the nurse was telling me to "hold still and be quiet". I then spent several more days in the hospital learning to live with my injuries. When I got home the next seven weeks were really tough I had to learn how to write using my non dominant hand and learn how to button a shirt or tie a tie with one hand. I also had to pretend that everything was normal and go back to school and try and concentrate on my homework when it gave me terrible headaches to focus on anything for more than twenty minutes. But I decided just to do my very best and trust that everything else would fall into place.

I had to relearn how to dribble and shoot a basketball with my collar bone slightly shorter on my right side than on my left. But as the days and weeks passed my collar bone healed and calcified until it became stronger than it was before I had my accident. Several times that season I thought about giving up and quitting when things got hard. Looking back now I'm glad that I didn't because since then I have been part of two championship basketball teams and have been named as an all-conference player. The decision to press forward and face whatever came at me strengthened my will and determination unit I was stronger than before. Those few months were hard but I'm glad I made it through them because as my hero John Wayne says "Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway".