Life Lessons Learned From a Serious Injury

In mid-February I had a serious accident.

I was in Sun Valley, Idaho for a qualifying ski race and I crashed in my first of 3 races (technically 6 since there are 2 runs per race). At a speed upwards of 30-40 miles per hour, my left ski popped off and threw me directly onto my head. My other ski continued to drag me down the ski hill into the b-net (safety net).

I don’t remember anything that happened after that.

A very close family friend went out of her way to take me to the hospital and I am beyond appreciative that she stayed with me that entire day to make sure that I was ok.

My family was home, 4+ hours away from where I was and they left in a hurry to come to Idaho to be with me.

When I was at the hospital, the doctors instantly told me that I had a major concussion. They called my parents who were driving up, for consent to do a few scans to make sure there was no bleeding in the brain or any broken bones.

The scans came back clear.

However, the doctors did tell me that along with my concussion I had a sprained neck and I had to take it very easy to prevent any nerve damage. The put me in a neck brace to limit my mobility since moving any part of my body gave me incredible amounts of pain.

“People truly underestimate concussions,” began the doctor. “It’s a very serious thing… and you must refrain from both physical and mental activity until your symptoms subside.”

I left the hospital that evening after almost 10 hours and got to spend the rest of the weekend with my family. It was definitely a change of plans (both for them and me) but it for sure was comforting having them there to help me out during that time.

Three weeks later I am feeling better but not 100%. Focusing in school is extremely difficult, and so far typing this has nearly taken me an hour. My symptoms have improved but I still wake up with severe headaches and nausea even though I took Advil religiously for the first two weeks (now I only take it if I really need it).

The recovery process has been very frustrating. I am unable to do many of the things I was able to do prior to my injury and I’m getting a little bit more of my memories and abilities back every day.

I’ve been in pretty intensive physical therapy twice a week and have almost an hour of exercises to practice at home each day.

I am also very behind in school and definitely stressed about it but I’m really trying not to beat myself up for it because I know I’m doing the best that I can do. My teachers have been fairly flexible with extensions and they are aware that it may take me twice or three times the amount of time to complete assignments than the other students take to complete them. I still get the work done no matter how sloppy, illegible, or incomprehendible it is.

Along this long recovery process I’ve learned some very valuable lessons that I’d like to share with you as well.

  1. Gratitude=fuel.

I know this one sounds strange, but gratitude is the one thing that has allowed me to stay strong and keep going. Sometimes when I’m really frustrated, I want to give up and have a pity party. However, if I truly look at my situation I have it very good. This could have ended up so much worse. There have been ski accidents not nearly as bad as mine, but the skier still tore their ACL or became paralyzed. My pain and rehab might be hard but it could be so much harder.

I am endlessly grateful for how smooth my recovery process has been, for all of the support I have received and am still receiving to this day, and for my situation being the way it is and not any worse.

2. Just because one door closes, it doesn’t mean they all do.

My ski season is over, my perfect handwriting is gone (for now), reading is very difficult, my screen time is limited, physical activity is limited to walking and stretching, getting out of bed is harder than it ever was, my routines are very different, and school is the hardest thing by far.

Ok maybe that’s more than one door but if I think about it, those were the activities that mainly consumed my time. If I take them all (or mostly) out of the picture, I have so much time on my hands. If you’re wondering what I even do, believe me it took me so long to figure that out.

A week after the accident I was supposed to go to NYC. I had no clue how I was supposed to travel in a neck brace! I decided that I wasn’t going to let my injury hold me back as long as my doctors said it was ok (and they did!). I went to NYC and had the time of my life. I couldn’t have imagined not going and I am so appreciative that I got the opportunity to travel and meet so many new people!

Additionally, I have picked up art and I’ve made some paintings for my art collections on my walls. I have found art very relaxing and theraputic especially since I can’t necessarily write and journal.

3. Don’t underestimate the importance of friends and family.

Honestly I will say that if it weren’t for my friends and family, I wouldn’t have gotten through this so easily. I have made the time to call my long distance friends and family as much as possible and every time I talk to them it makes me so happy. It is a really great distraction from everything that’s going on in my life and it is a great use of my time.

It’s crazy to think that if this accident was any worse I could have lost my ability to walk and talk, and even forget who people are. Life is so unpredictable and I have no control over many things that happen on a daily basis, but what’s in my control are my relationships, my habits, my thoughts and actions, and ultimately who I am as a person and the impact I can have on this world.

I may not be able to do a lot of things right now but I will do everything on my part to be happy, to be healthy and to persevere through this recovery process no matter how difficult it is.

Whatever you’re going through right now, try to see the other side and focus on what is in your control. Know that you did your best to control the things that you could and to make the most of your situation.

I hope you have an amazing rest of your weekend and thank you for sticking to the end! Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or post suggestions in the comment section below!

8 thoughts

  1. You are remarkable! I did not know many of the details you shared in your post about the extent of your horrific and painful experience, the injury and the limitations it caused you. I am so grateful that you are recovering well. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Jordyn, I’m impressed with how grateful you are, despite your accident and concussion. Your gratitude habits have served you well. My hope is that the adversity you’re going through will strengthen your gratitude practice.

    I’m also hopeful that you’ll make a full recovery and ski even better in the future (and also have perfect handwriting, if you choose to). Your age and neuroplasticity favor you! It sounds as though this experience has sharpened your focus on what’s essential to you and what’s nice or important but not necessarily essential.

    On a side note: have you been able to maintain your vegan diet through this crisis?

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  3. You have shown amazing insight and maturity in how you have understood this experience in your life. I think that you will find that many doors will open for you because of your perspectives.
    I am glad that you are pursuing art and writing as ways of expressing yourself. It is wonderful that you recognize how much your family and friends love and support you.

    Like

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