So my worst rugby injury was received, not from an opponent, but from a teammate. During practice we were running through gameplan live. On our kickoff, I sprinted to the 10m mark and launched into the air to attempt to intercept the kick before it landed.
However, my scrumhalf beat me to it and was already in the air above me. As I jumped up, he was already on his way back down, swinging his elbows violently. His elbow met my skull just above the eyebrow and then skipped down into the eye orbital itself. I blacked out and when I came too, every one of my teammates was standing over me with a disgusted look on their face.
Position: Outside Center
Club: Slippery Rock University
Injury: Cracked Orbital Bone
At first I said “F*** Off I’m fine!” And then… I felt the excruciating pain, and saw the blood all over my clothes and hands. I had also forgotten my name… My boys helped me to the side of the field and then continued practicing. I decided I’d better go to the hospital but considering I didn’t know which car was mine I decided I shouldn’t drive.
I called the first number in my phone which was my roommate who then took me to the ER. X-rays showed that I had cracked my eye orbital in 2 places, and my eyeball was in danger of sinking into my skull. Little did I know this wasn’t the grossest part. After being assured I’d be fine and didn’t need surgery, I was sent home.
As I cleaned up the remaining crusted blood from my face, I realized that there quite the collection of clotted blood in my nose. I decided to try and blow my nose to release it… BIG MISTAKE. My eyelid LITERALLY blew up like a balloon! It was like the scene in Poltergeist where the guy pulled his own face off. I screamed like Michael Jackson and promptly returned to the ER.
There they told me they had missed a fracture in my sinuses that now allowed air to freely flow between spaces it shouldn’t be. I missed the rest of my final year in college rugby. All thanks to my damn scrummy being a practice try-hard… JK I still love the guy. But I still have a decent scar, and I get a nasty sinus infection every winter! And I still get queasy thinking about my damn balloon eyelid.
I returned to the sport to play about a year later and continue to play socially. I coach and every year I tell my kids the story about my worst injury. They laugh and say “Yeah Right”. I have a picture somewhere on an old cellphone, probably a Nokia. But I can’t find it anywhere. The gruesome image will remain my own and those who were lucky enough to be in my apartment when it happened.
By Corey Carter
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