Hello fellow adrenaline junkies, my name is Stephen. I am 30 years young, and I have been skating for about 25. My first board was a Vision Gator with the neon tail guard and rails, most of you probably weren’t even born yet.
After years of skating street, a lady named Cathy White gave me my first longboard. You may have heard of her son, Shaun. The board was a Sector 9 Luke Nosewalker. When she handed me the board she said, “promise me you won’t be going down any hills on this, that’s why I’m giving it to you. I don’t want Shaun to kill himself.” Naturally, I said I wouldn’t. At the time, I had no intention of doing downhill… at the time.
Eventually I ran into a kid at school with a S9 mini cruiser that wanted to skate with me. Every time we would skate he would say,”let’s go bomb some hills dude!’ So we did… and then I knew that I had found my new hobby.
Fast forward to June 28th… I was skating with my friend, Doron, in downtown Long Beach. We frequent some garages in the area that are 7 floors with one lane spirals that are super fun. After a few runs in the garage, we decided to move on because there were a lot of cars. We made our way to the lighthouse to wait out the traffic. While Doron talked to a guy we met at the top of the hill, I went down for my first run. The hill is slow, maybe 25 if you get a good push. At the bottom I made the decision to roll into the grass to slow down… wrong decision. My front wheels hit a hole, and my board stopped. I probably would have been fine, but my foot stop pulled my front foot out from under me. My shoulder dug into the ground and I heard a snap. I knew what it was.
My clavicle was obviously broken and almost coming through the skin. So I walked back up the hill to get Doron.
“Hey man…hey… dude… we like, gotta roll to the E.R.” I said.
“I am pretty sure this bone isn’t supposed to be poking this way,” I said as I dropped my board and put my foot on it.
“What are you doing?! You can’t skate back like that!’ Doron said.
But it was too late, I was already headed back down the hill. The car was about 2 miles away, but we were in a spot that is hard to get to with a car. As I skated back i could hear Doron’s wheels hitting the cracks behind me. As he skated next to me he said, “dude, is it okay that I’m filming this?’ “Of course,” I said. Why not? I’d be filming your ass if you fell, i thought. When we got to the road, I stopped skating and told him to get the car.
Doron did about 55mph to whole way to the ER. Screaming around corners in his little Fiat, he seemed more freaked out than I was. I appreciated the gesture so much that I could not tell him how much he was hurting me by driving that way.
In the ER I didn’t get anything for pain, they only gave me some anti-inflammatory medicine. A few hours later, the doctor came in with my X-rays. Before I tell you what he said, take a look at it.
“Here is a sling, it will set itself,” the doctor said.
“Hahaha, that is super funny,” I said, “you are joking, right?’
“No, it is just a clavicle. These things heal themselves.”
“Okay, but I’m pretty sure I need surgery.”
There it was, I had a sling and 12 vicodin. The next morning, I drove myself back to the hospital to see a real doctor. When I walked into the room he had my x-ray on the screen and he was shaking his head.
“I guess I don’t have to tell you that you need surgery,” he said.
I had seen this doctor before, you see, I’m no stranger to injury. About 18% of my body is covered in burn scars. That is another story all together.
So I spent a week with my bones completely separated, and it was hell. I had a titanium plate and six screws put in, and healing has been going pretty well.
This bone is no joke though, not an injury I would want to go through again. I skated 25 years without breaking a bone, but when I finally did it; I did it right. I have no feeling in my entire left shoulder, and you can see the plate sticking up through my skin. The doctors said it would be 3 months before I can pick my daughter up, but I don’t listen. I was lifting her the day after surgery. I know I shouldn’t be, but come on… I’m a single dad, what am I supposed to do?