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Back-breaking dedication

In this series, guest writer Jordan Boudreau reflects on the experience of living in a back brace after receiving a broken vertebrae. Unable to participate in basketball and many daily activities, Boudreau shares his emotional struggle. This is the first installment.

I broke my back; I?m riding the bench. Years of ignored opportunities and hard work: wasted. All of the dedication and self-motivation I put in turned against me and became my biggest enemy.

In late November I had to step out from a basketball practice because my back hurt so badly that I couldn?t bend over (better yet, make an athletic play) without sharp shooting pains and spasms. My back had hurt for the past six months, but not like this.

I went home that night and my parents and I agreed we should go see the doctor again. We had gone a few months earlier, but they attributed my pain to merely be tight hamstrings causing an unusual amount of stress on my lower back.

This time around, I agreed to have an MRI and a CT scan done to try to find the real problem. In the meantime, my doctor gave me some fairly sizable pain medication.

I continued to practice the next week feeling next to nothing because of the “magical” pills. It was great — the first time I was pain free sense the beginning of 2011.

The time came to see the results from the scans and I went in not knowing what to expect, but hoping for the best. The doctor?s evaluation was catastrophic. I had a stress fracture on both sides of L5 vertebrae, in the pars lumbar region.

More clearly, the lowest vertebrae has two wing-shaped parts that stretch out on the back side of the bone. Both of these had fractured at one point, and continued to crack until one side broke all the way through.

Crystal clearly, I am out for the entire basketball season; I am wearing a body brace for three to four months, which restrains me from all activity, including walking normally. Now here is the “it just rained for two weeks straight and there is a full moon outside” picture: Jordan?s life has been terminated. No basketball, no weightlifting, no driving, no doing stupid random stuff, no sleeping comfortably — my life has completly changed.

Has my life really been destroyed? No. In fact, a lot more opportunities have opened up and God has taught me so much through this. In this first column, however, I am just writing my thoughts at the time of injury. Please see my next post for a much more in-depth look at how “no life” and bracing has benefited me.

You?re still probably wondering, “what caused your injury in the first place?” The truth is, I?m not 100 percent sure. I could speculate, but the general assumption is that, at one point my back suffered severe trauma that initially fractured it, then sports and lifting continued to crack the bone until the pain became unbearable.

Over time, my brain has flashed back to multiple scenarios that may have cause the break initially, a few are: falling onto several rocks walking a trail barefoot in Hawaii, falling off my longboard while riding up to a fence and jumping over it, squatting too much weight and experiencing back spasms and being up-ended after completing a lay-up in a game against Riverdale High School last season.

The bottom line is that I?m just not sure, but I think for now, I?ll stick with the story Coach Josh Justin told me to tell: “I was riding my longboard down Maple Ave., and I see this cat in the middle of the road. I saw a car coming straight for it, so without thinking I rushed into the middle of the street and grabbed the cat; the oncoming car didn?t hit me, but a truck pulled to the side of it in order to avoid a rear ending, and slammed into me.

“I manage to walk home and gave the cat to a little girl who lives down the street, but I called the doc up that afternoon, because my back was killing me. Then at the appointment, I found out my back was broken.”

For a more in-depth account of my emotional struggle and what God has taught me through this, check back soon for my next post.

For more information on basketball, read the Feb. 28 article, Boys’ basketball sport shorts: Eagles punch ticket to Selland For more columns, read the Feb. 29 article, My first NOTS: a retrospective.

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    Alexandra BarisicMar 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I always love searching for the reindeer! Although for the past two years or so they seem to have ended up in the same locations along the Lane. Just last night I went to get the mail and noticed that the reindeer outside our house, Comet, had fallen down. I thought about resetting him, but have a history of knocking him down. But now he is safely straightened up!

    P.S. I find it extremely annoying and inappropriate that Raine Hayes always gets listed as the only student to reside on Van Ness Boulevard. I have yet to see Katharine Barisic’s name on anything Christmas Tree Lane related. I’m sure there is a possibility that other students live on the street as well and they all should have recognition.