Monday, June 28, 2010

Every grappler's worst nightmare... with a silver lining.

The big news right now is my good friend and fellow blue belt training partner and teammate, Leila. Yesterday in class, she suffered a serious neck injury and had to be rushed to the ER around noon.

Apparently, she was rolling, got stacked, and tried to roll over her shoulder to escape. Something popped and she was in serious pain. She laid still on the mat in the same position and didn't move till the EMTs loaded her on a backboard. The class instructor, her rolling partner, and an academy owner all went with, and met her dad there.

The injury was serious enough that immediate surgery was performed. Leila's C5 and C6 were fused. She was out of surgery and awake in the ICU by 5pm. She's not paralyzed, thank God, and last night a couple of us got to visit her for an hour. Seems like she's not in serious pain, but her hands are tingly and I think she'll be in the hospital for another two days or so. Not sure what the long term prognosis is. Her attitude is really amazing-- strong, calm, and considerate. She's a trooper.

She's not out of the woods yet, there is still the worry of swelling around her spinal cord, and no one is taking this lightly.

Scary. Scary because it's not like we can point a finger at a cause.. at least that would give me the sense of security that if I avoid doing such-and-so, I can avoid a similar injury. But she isn't a spaz, nor is the guy she was rolling with, and it wasn't like she was dangling and slipped off a triangle or something. It appears to just be a freak random accident, reminding us all that this beloved sport can do serious, lasting damage beyond the popped elbows and torn ACLs we're all becoming familiar with.

18 comments:

Lynn said...

Oh my..I'll be thinking of her.
It is scary; I do that all the time.
I hope the swelling goes down. And wow, a fusion of C5 C6. We're all hoping for a positive long term prognosis...

Dev said...

Holy shit! I absolutely empathize. I know exactly what it feels like (I had C6/7 fused after a traumatic injury that caused my left arm to be paralyzed), and right now I'm coming off a slight reinjury that caused my left arm to tingle again. It's scary as holy hell, and what got me through it, and the recovery, was the help and support from family and friends.

Please pass on my best wishes. I KNOW from personal experience that she can come back from this, but it's a long road and it won't be easy. Anything I can do to help, please let me know.

Meerkatsu said...

My best wishes to LeIla, hope she recovers fast

SkinnyD said...

That's scary. My heartfelt sympathies and get well wishes to your friend Leila. I hope she'll be able to resume training when everything has healed.

As you said, you can take all the right precautions and still get injured while doing something completely benign. A really strong blue belt at our school tore his tricep while performing a kimura on someone else,ironically. We've modified a few moves in our school to mitigate the risk of spinal injury, but there's no guarantee that it won't happen in this sport.

Georgette said...

Just got back from the hospital; she's out of ICU and even got out of bed and walked (with help) to a wheelchair this morning. Hands still tingly but we hope that's a good sign. She'll be in the hospital another two days or so, a C-collar for another couple weeks. Might be tingling for 3-6 more months. Still the big concern is swelling around the spinal cord. Please keep praying for her.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Wow, that's horrible. My dad and uncle both had spinal cord surgery (construction is even more hazardous than BJJ) and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. I hope she makes a full recovery very quickly. prayers are with her!

hughfitz said...

Thank God it wasn't worse.

Anonymous said...

Prayers for a speedy recovery. Hang tough.

Romeo Barnes said...

Wow that sucks. I've always been afraid of being stacked(a few people have tried it they got sick of me turtling as they walked around) especially since I have a curved spine I guess my fears are warranted. My mom had that surgery(fusion surgery, I don't remember exactly what Cs got fused though) years ago she's fine now. But I'll never forget it.

Lelia's road to recovery is long and hard but with friends like you at her side she cant fail. She'll come back better than ever.

Please pass my best wishes along.

The Part Time Grappler said...

That's terrible my heart is with the poor girl.

Georgette said...

Thanks everyone for the kindnesses-- looks like she might be discharged to home today. She is experiencing muscle spasms in her legs and lots of tingling (nonstop) in her hands, but is able to walk with assistance. Her fine motor control is suffering, but there is hope for a lot of improvement over the next couple months. She has a great attitude so we're all optimistic.

DSTRYR said...

very scary. we sometimes forget how fragile we can be in this sport.

Steve said...

Oh man! Every positive vibe I've got is going in her direction. Best wishes to Leila on a swift recovery!

Anonymous said...

Haha, women shouldn't be doing BJJ anyway.

Georgette said...

Wow, my first BJJ troll. I've been blogging for years and it's taken this long to get one?!

Anyway, Leila will likely be discharged from the hospital today, and go to an inpatient rehab facility for a week or so. No real changes except she's off the IV now. She is still walking on occasion and staying very chipper and positive.

Dev said...

I'm staring in open-jawed shock at that last comment. I don't even know how to respond to something that ignorant.

Of course, the fact that he posted it meant that he read the blog of a female jiu jitsu player, which in and of itself is hypocritical. Yet not surprising.

Georgette said...

Eh, it's probably one of my training partners just being silly. :) I'll do my best to choke out any man I come across (on the mats) for the next 24 hours, in Anonymous' honor. How 'bout that.

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