Wire agency APNZ has quickly come up with five weird injuries in sport after Marina Erakovic fell over and dislocated her thumb in a hotel. I always felt really sorry for Trevor Franklin.
A few days before I was due to leave Dunedin to do post-grad in Wellington in 1989, I went for my bog-standard run which included the Caversham Valley Road hill, a hill I had run up at least 320 times previously (yes, I still have all my athletics training diaries). Halfway up to Lookout Point, I felt as if someone had just smashed me in the goolies. Long story short, I hobbled up the hill on one leg and eventually made it back to Maryhill Terrace.
I went to the doctor the next day. He, in his esteemed medical opinion, believed it was a twisted testicle and spent some time painfully manipulating the meat and two veg before saying….”no, they seem to be OK.”
As I was off to Wellington, I waited until I arrived there before seeing a physio who extracted a large wedge of cash (from me and ACC) and after three weeks told me I was as good as gold. I wasn’t, but post-grad and bad habits taught by Dr Thaddeus Jack and some other classmates in the back bar at the Southern Cross Tavern kept me from testing it too much.
When I got a job, I ended up living in the country and started running again. Which meant my flatmate had to drive me to Palmerston North hospital one day in screaming pain. A nurse said “twisted testicle” and did the old ball squeeze again before I ripped the mask off and said “NO! They’ve already done that!”
Big mistake. They checked for a hernia and were about to shave me and wheel me into theatre when a young doctor said “Get Albert.” Next thing I knew, another doctor with the longest fingers I had ever seen was whacking on a rubber glove and asking for KY jelly. I blocked the next bit out, but whatever he was looking for wasn’t there and I was discharged in a catatonic state with none of us any the wiser as to what was wrong.
I didn’t run again until I moved to London three years later. At first gingerly, but then managed to get up to a solid 10-12km along the Thames every night after a couple of years. I did a few road races in the States, and then started to feel a twinge again and gave up.
I got back to NZ and had to do a medical for a job. The doctor asked if I had any existing conditions and I told him. He ordered an X-ray. No-one else had thought to do this over the previous seven years. It showed I had pretty much torn the adductor brevis off the bone.
“It’s healed up again, but there’s a fucking big lump of scar tissue there,” he said. “Want me to get someone to work on trying to break that down?”
“Will they have to stick their finger up my arse?”
He laughed his head off and I told him the whole story. Then he shook his head and said “all for the want of one X-ray….”
Needless to say, going from running sub-10 minute three kilometre runs to now being happy if I can do a sub-15 minute one is a bit galling, and nearly 10 years of intermittent running drove me spare. But it is a salutary lesson: if you are going to injure yourself, try and stay away from the groin area, and if you get admitted to Palmerston North hospital and they call for “Albert”, run like hell.