A Few Short Seconds: How one Mistake Changed My Life

By Jordan Dalton

Staff Write

Do you ever have those days where you feel as though everything is going to go perfectly? When I woke up April 20, I felt like I was going to have one of those days. It started off with the completion of a few hours of community service at Habitat For Humanity in Pittsboro. The experience at Habitat was uplifting and it left me with a positive outlook for the rest of the day.

Upon arriving home from community service, I set out to spend the rest of my Saturday kayak fishing with a friend. I was even fortunate enough to catch two fish while fishing on the pond. After a few hours, my friend and I decided it was time to load the large red kayak into his pick-up truck.

From that moment on I have little recollection of what truly happened on that Saturday. I have been told several different stories, but they all end the same. I suffered a severe, near-fatal skull injury that will haunt me for the remainder of my life.

It’s simply amazing how one ordinary day can be turned to disarray in a matter of a few short seconds. It really goes to show you that every decision you make in life is precious and could mean the difference between life and death. One careless mistake I made of holding onto a kayak in an effort to prevent it from sliding off the back of the truck resulted in me falling from the back of the truck and my head hitting the pavement. A fall that may have cost me my ability to play contact sports, a decrease in intelligence and a possibility of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in my future.

Of all the adjustments I have been forced to make as a result of my skull fracture and brain trauma, the biggest has been giving up football. Football has always been a huge part of my life and I have always stayed very involved with the sport. When I found out that I wouldn’t be able to play football as a result of my injury, I was devastated and at a complete loss for words. Finally I managed to ask the question on everyone’s mind: “Isn’t there something we can do?” But I knew the answer before the words left my mouth. The answer was no and it always would be.

Some athletes may be familiar with the feeling of being on the sideline because of a broken leg or arm, but do they really know what it’s like to be on the sideline knowing that they may be there for the rest of their athletic career?

There is no way to truly determine whether I have fully recovered from my injury or if I ever will. Recent results from cognitive tests have helped to provide a glimmer of hope to my situation. The results indicate that the symptoms from my brain trauma are nearing their end and that I am almost back to my previous state.

At the end of the day, I really just need to make the best of my situation and try my best to get back to where I was just one year ago. The moral of this story: Don’t get into the bed of pick-up trucks.