“The Road to Paradise”

Carmel Greyhound StadiumExcerpt from Chapter 1: Friday the 13th

CARMEL WAS ABOUT to add injury to insult.

After yet another touchdown giving them an insurmountable 49-13 lead, the Greyhounds kicked off to the demoralized Knights. On the play, junior Dave Brosmer and got creamed from the side, causing him to wrench his back as he hit the ground.

He felt the twinge of pain, but didn’t have time to worry about it now. There were two minutes left to play.

When he awoke the next morning, he expected to be sore and he was. When he tried to throw his legs to the floor, a pain more intense than anything he’d ever experienced shot through him. His brother Chris helped him to the family car and his mother drove him to the hospital. After an endless array of tests, x-rays and MRIs, the doctor entered the room and turned his world upside down.

“You’ve pretty much cracked your vertebrae in half. You’re going to need surgery.”

“Surgery?” an agitated Brosmer shot back as his mom tried to comfort him. “What’s that mean?”

The doctor offered some bland encouragement, but Brosmer wasn’t in the mood. He had only one question on his mind right then. He had to ask, even if he didn’t want to hear the answer.

“Am I going to be able to play football again?”

He needed to hear a yes or no. He got neither.

“Let’s see, Dave, okay?”

OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL ROOM, his parents asked the question again: Would he play football again? They got a much more straight-forward answer.

“Probably not,” the doctor told them.

There’s no lonelier place than within your own thoughts, and Brosmer would have plenty of time alone with his thoughts. He was scared of the prospect of not playing football again. Scared that the injury might be worse than what he was being told. It was a lot for a 17 year old to deal with.

After the surgery, he awoke in a morphine-induced haze. His eyes searched the room and soon found his parents. The concern in their eyes couldn’t lie to him. They were worried. They offered comforting smiles, exchanged small talk and laughed a little until Brosmer realized he couldn’t feel his legs.

Panic spread through him.

This was the ugly place his thoughts had taken him, and now it seemed to be coming true.

The doctors would repeatedly tell him that the paralysis was temporary. Be patient and the feeling would come back.

Be patient? He wanted to scream.

“When you’re 17, all you can think is that this isn’t right,” he said.

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