Tabetha DeGroot—Staff Writer
It was a typical Wednesday night for Dordt University freshman Sean Solano when he hopped on a friend’s longboard and skated toward North Hall from the Rec Center. He felt free and energized—eager for whatever the rest of the evening had in store. In the crisp November air, he pushed off the board, still getting used to the feel of it in the absence of his own experience with the wheels. He sailed through dead leaves and over sidewalk cracks, picking up speed as the wind whistled in his ears. Passing the clock tower, he began to feel the board escape from underneath him and he tipped backward. His first thought: avoid hitting his head on the pavement. He attempted to simultaneously dismount from the board and extend his foot to stop it.
The next thing Solano knew, he was on the ground. The board laid in the grass near him and his right foot stuck out ninety degrees sideways, ankle bone facing upwards. He sat on the cold concrete, still in the shorts and tee shirt he wore from working out, shaking from the nippy air and adrenaline.
A warm, tingly feeling crawled up from his bent-out foot and into his shin and leg. He knew the bone had dislocated itself upon impact and decided to pop it back into place. To keep from passing out, he shoved his duffel bag under his foot to support it and tried to steady his breathing.
Solano attempted to rotate his foot counter-clockwise to get it back in place.
His foot fell back to the 90-degree angle. Solano needed to push harder. He grabbed the foot again, twisting it harder this time.
It ground back in place. Solano breathed a sigh of relief. Now, instead of a stiff 90-degree angle, it lay limp. An ambulance had been called by some nearby witnesses and Sean acted giddy with all the excitement, trying not to think about the ankle for one second because if he did, he would be overcome with agony.
The paramedic asked if Solano wanted pain medication, but when he found out it would cost him $400, Solano said, “I’m good.”
Solano spent the next three hours at the Sioux Center hospital receiving x-rays, still in shock. Solano’s friend Logan Posthumus was enjoying some ice-cream when he got the phone call that Solano was in the hospital. He rushed over, with another friend to find Sean “high on adrenaline” and saying he couldn’t feel anything.
“I took one look glance at his ankle and I could tell it was bad[DD1] ,” he said.
The shock soon wore off and Solano’s ankle began to burn and throb as he writhed in pain on the gurney.
“I thought I was going to die It hurt so bad,” Solano said.
He gave in and asked for pain meds. Posthumus and Beltman took turns sitting with Solano and were very entertained as he was “high out of his mind” on pain meds.
“His ankle was just destroyed,” Posthumus said. “I felt like he probably wasn’t coming back to campus, but we just decided to wait.”
It was around four when they drove back to campus.
Solano ended up staying overnight and was transferred to Mercy One in Sioux City the next day. He had fractured three bones (two malleolar and one fibular fracture) in his leg and tore multiple tendons. He had surgery two days after the accident and was brought back to Dordt the day after surgery.
Solano was moved from his second-floor room in North Hall to a single room on the first floor. The doctors told him he had to be on bedrest for a week, keeping his foot elevated to stop blood flow and swelling. He engaged in online class and all his food for the day was brought to him in a big bag at 11 a.m. By dinner time, the food fell cold.
One week of bedrest turned into two weeks and then three weeks–three weeks lying in bed, only getting up to go to make painful trips to bathroom caused by blood rushing to his foot.
This lifestyle of cold food day in and day out, never leaving his room, and missing out on time with friends caused Solano to slip into depression. He had to take Benadryl to sleep and stop the itching under his cast. He didn’t move at all, so he didn’t eat very much. He lost 19 pounds in those three weeks. His only comfort was a few friends who checked in on him.
“Before or after classes I’d pop my head in and be like ‘You good buddy?’ And he’d say ‘I’m good buddy’,” Posthumus said.
Solano still wears a boot but can now walk and spends an hour a day without it. Long boarding is not in the foreseeable future for him, though. Just the idea of boarding made him feel sick for a while. One positive thing to come out of his accident; however, was a new appreciation for the ability to walk.
“Walking is something so trivial that we constantly take for granted until we don’t have it anymore,” Solano said.
Who could have guessed a borrowed longboard could have such a price.
[DD1]Who is the “he”? Josh or Logan?