What I thought would be a typical Friday Night Lights, rather Saturday Night Lights college football game turned into something more exciting, and painful.
Last Saturday at the Western Carolina Hawaii game, an unexpected force crashed into my 400mm lens thrusting my camera straight into my face. The massive blow tore my forehead open and cost me a trip to the ER. Luckily, the cut, although deep, was relatively small and required no stitches but the doctor glued my wound shut with Dermabond.
Before the start of the game, I was trying to photograph Hawaii’s head coach on the field. I stood on the sidelines and was waiting for him to walk from behind a few players.
I could see Hawaii’s QB making passes a few yards in front of me but I had tunnel vision as I was staring through my long lens at action on the other side of the field. Either the QB threw an errant pass or a player running knocked into me but I never saw it coming.
The blow was quick and sharp and was more startling than anything else. My ears popped, my jaw clenched, and I saw stars for about a second. I then felt my right hand squeezing tight around my monopod and then began to curse that my glasses fell of my face.
What I thought was sweat was blood quickly filling my eye socket and spilling on my shirt and ground. I stood there stunned for a bit not knowing what to do and worried whether my camera was busted and whether I could work through the game. Then someone from the visiting team came to see if I was alright and he ran off to find someone to help me.
Christina, a student trainer from UH, walked over and helped me control the bleeding. She cleaned my face off and applied pressure to my head wound. I didn’t think it hurt but it did. I sat on a bench with her attending to me while fans cheered as the marching band played along.
She then put a bandage on me and went to grab the team doctor, Dr. Inoue. I told her to meet me at the end of the field as I had to grab some different gear. When Dr. Inoue and another medical person arrived, they asked me how I felt and I got on my knees for her to take a look at the cut. They immediately said I needed a trip to the ER for a stitch or two. I argued that I had to work the game and they said to go straight after the game and not wait til the next day.
Throughout the game I had a dull headache and a mild throbbing at the wound site. I changed my bandage several times as it was soaked with a bit of blood but mostly sweat. I never really felt that bad but had a bruised pride and a dedication to finish up the football game as I knew someone, somewhere was expecting my images for the night.
During the game, I saw Dr. Nick Crawford who operated on my torn meniscus several years back. He served as the team orthopedic doctor and I saw him at most of the UH games. He heard about someone being injured and was surprised to see it was me. He quickly pulled me aside and looked at the wound and said it would be best to go to the ER as well.
I continued to photograph the game and got laughs and sympathy from most of my colleagues but didn’t let them get the best of me. Jamm Aquino was overly concerned for me and worried I had a mild concussion. I didn’t think the hit was bad enough to worry about it but the ER confirmed all was ok.
(Jamm took the photo of me walking at the game.)
After the game, Jamm, whom I shared a ride with to the stadium, took me straight to the Straub and offered to stay with me but I told him to go home and not to worry about me. I checked myself into the ER but was treated very quickly as my friend Aaron, who lives in my building, is like a head nurse at Straub and he hooked me up. He called ahead and told them I would be at the ER that night.
The ERs was a mix of drunks, real medical conditions, and one really attractive hooker. A nurse shuffled me in where I was asked a bunch of questions then led to a bed where another nurse doused my wound with ice cold saline then another came in and sealed my cut with Dermabond.
Dermabond is basically skin glue and when applied, it burns like a dozen fire ants are biting the same spot for about 15 seconds. It was horribly painful. Another nurse came in to administer a tetanus shot (which still hurts) followed by the ER doctor who checked me out and released me from their care.
All in all it was an eventful night, full of pain, dedication, care, and laughs. Before I left the stadium I sought out Christina and gave her a hug thanking her for her warmth and care. She was probably about 20 years old but cared for me like a mother.
Thanks Jamm for the kindness. Thanks Dr. C for your advice. And many thanks to everyone else who laughed and poked at me making the night fun. Oh and thanks Courtney for the Advil as it made the night bearable.