Sunday, November 22, 2009

Disease and Dismemberment

It was about this time last year when I wrote a blog about the spectre of illness that starts visiting swim teams right around American Thanksgiving time.  I think the topic bears revisiting because, let’s face it, this year’s visit has already begun.

And this year we have the added hysteria of the H1N1 virus.  Few of the college swimmers have been able to get vaccinations for it yet.  One girl on the team was smart enough to catch it during the summer so that’s at least one athlete we can count on for conference.  Another girl was diagnosed with H1N1 just the other week and then, after that, she developed a sinus infection, strep throat and an ear infection – in both ears.  After the last diagnosis, while she was still leaking from every cranial orifice, she asked Mr. Coach if she could get back in the water.  Once the penicillin kicks in, we’ll know if her brain got infected, too, or if it’s always been that way.

But it isn’t just illness.  It’s the dumb accidents that are on the upswing again.  The other night, I was driving with Mr. Coach and he gets this phone call.  Here -- and I am not making ANY of this up -- is his side of the conversation:

“So is it broken?...No, if the kidney was sliced, she would have seen blood when she peed…Well then the kidney’s fine…Oh, they recognized you from this summer?...Were they still mad?”

One of Mr. Coach’s athletes had tumbled off the wide, concrete natatorium stands when she was doing some kind of dryland exercise.  One of the seniors had taken her to the emergency room and was calling Mr. Coach from there.  As it turned out, the tumble-down athlete had a bruised rib and the senior chauffeur got to re-meet the E.R. staff.  The last time he met them – which they remembered quite vividly – was after a cycling accident he had and he was not a “good” patient. 

As for the tumble-down athlete, Mr. Coach told me, “She’s not exactly a land animal.”

“Are any of them?” I felt compelled to ask.

But, to end on a happy note, the tumble-down athlete still competed in their meet that weekend, bruised rib notwithstanding, and she swam close to a P.R. in her best event.  Before conference championships, we’re going to drop her off a cell-phone tower and hope for a world record.


  1. hahaha this is so true. My college team always seems to suffer bizarre accidents. Swimmers are swimmers for a reason--hand eye coordinated sports never worked for them.

  2. I have a soccer player/swimmer. At any point if she plays any sport that a part of this particular sport the ball is going to be above the waist she gets hit in the head (90% of the time it is in the face).

    Her latest injuries:

    -A 'big kid' accidently stepped on her foot and nearly broke her big toe in PE. One legged flip turns for a week.

    -Leg swings before practice. The bleachers are a straight drop off, so there is a 'wall' of sealed wood boards to which they brace themselves against. She found a way to cut her middle toe, on the underside, exactly half way between the tip and her foot. She is twelve, this space is about as wide as a No. 2 pencil. This happened less than a week after she got over the stomping during PE class.

    Is it also coincidental that they are always some of your best athletes, she happens to be our best 11-12 girl.

  3. Good to know (I think) that it's not just our team!


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