I was in the middle of my senior year of high school. It just so happened that I was on Christmas break when my accident happened. December 27th, 2010 is when I had my Flight For Life ride. I was out at a barn, riding a horse when the dog came in and caught the corner of her eye and spooked her.
By the time I realized she had spooked, I was already falling off. I landed on my back and must have twisted it when I fell because the pain was excruciating. I remember lying on my side and thinking that I cannot move because there is something seriously wrong with my back. I was alone at the time of my fall so I called the barn owners and they came out. My parents arrived shortly after the ambulance had gotten there. Then I got transported to the hospital where I learned I had broken my L1 and would be transported to Children’s hospital in Milwaukee via Flight For Life. When they arrived, I was a little scared because I did not like flying and had never flown in a helicopter before. I don’t remember a lot about the ride except it seemed like forever. I live in Fond du Lac, so it wasn't that far from Milwaukee. My back was killing me and I was freezing because it was winter time.
I had surgery a day or two later and now have a nice 5.5 inch scar on my back. The recovery time was long, but manageable.
I wore a back brace for six months after my surgery and did not have to have any physical therapy. I continued to enjoy the last part of my senior year by still going on the band trip and enjoying prom and graduation. Even though I enjoyed these things, I could not do what I loved most, riding horses, for a year after my surgery. That was really tough, but I am riding and have competed in shows again and love it. It’s always in the back of my mind though that the horse could spook no matter how “bombproof” it is. This accident has opened my eyes and I embrace my accident and story.
While I was at a fundraiser in the spring of 2014, the Flight For Life helicopter was there. I was talking to one of the crew members and learned that I could actually meet the crew that assisted me! It had been 3.5 years since my accident, but I felt it was important that they know how much I appreciated their help! So I finally met my flight nurse this summer 2014 and felt so relieved to finally thank him for what he did. Since that, it has sparked me to take the basic EMT class. I will hopefully be enrolling in that in the spring.