I smashed my elbow

I can’t believe this completely rotten thing has really happened to me. :frowning:

Last week I seriously smashed up my elbow while riding my 29er. I was taken to the hospital where I underwent surgery, and was required to stay for 4 nights. It was a multiple compound fracture and the surgeon explained that I may need 2 or more additional operations and perhaps years of physical therapy before before I am anywhere near “back to normal.” this is especially disturbing to me because I am an artist and for now I can not use my right hand very well, (I am slowly pecking this out with my left hand) so I dread to imagine the future consequences of all this. The surgeon told me that my elbow was like a shattered glass. It felt like it. It still does…

I wish I wore elbow pads. the irony is that I was protected by knee pads, wrist guards, and of course, a helmet. But not elbow pads. In all my unicycling adventures, when taking a fall, I always went forward and never had a problem because I was always well protected. But you know what they say—it only takes one bad fall on that ONE unprotected place.

And its not like I was doing anything remotely fancy—I was out on long island visiting my brother, and I went for a ride. I followed a road that took me down by the beach. It was a beautiful twilight, and for a moment, I stopped and sat on a park bench that faced the water. I noticed a sidewalk that ran parrellel to the beach and that went up into a small forest, so I decided to ride it. I attempted to freemount, and failed. I tried to freemount again, and I still went nowhere. On my third try, the world slipped upside down and a second later I was cradling my broken arm and bleeding all over. It was terrible. Luckily, some nice people quickly drove me to my brother’s house, who then took me to the hospital.

I think its the freemounting that did me in. I was always lousy at freemounting, I always considered it to be my achillies heel, the one thing I did not like about the unicycle, but still, my success rate was good enough to keep me going. Till now.

This event has made a mess of my life—luckily enough, I have health insurance, but my family and I were scheduled to go live in Paris for a year and I had to cancel the flights an cancel the sublease on our apartment, and we may not go at all, or at least I may not go at all—the complications of this have been unbelievable.

I still love the unicycle, and I am grateful to have experienced the pleasures of riding the one wheel, and I am delighted to have met so many interesting unicyclists along the way (both live and on this forum) and just a week into my injury I really miss riding the old 29er like you would’nt believe, but –seriously–i do think my unicycling days are over… for now.

Bummed out beyond belief,

PS–don’t overlook those elbow pads!

Glad to hear that you’re as ok as you can be. I hope things turn out for the better. I have a gnarly scar on my elbow from a muni ride a while back, where I managed toland with a jagged rock sticking inside my elbow an inch, 3miles from home.

I hope you can get back to uni’ing soon.

Sorry that happened… i hope everything works out ok.
My friend broke his leg in 2 places a day before he went to Japan for 3 weeks. :frowning:

Hello Steve,

I am sorry to hear about your smashed elbow and how this has disrupted your work and family plans. I hope your arm heals quickly.

I’ve been tooling around the neighborhoods on my Sun 28 lately and consider myself a member of the Sun 28 Appreciation society.

Get well soon.

I did a faceplant into a wet vert ramp (wet being the key thing wrong with this sentence. without it, faceplant wouldn’t even be needed!).

I am currently missing a tooth, and it’s bumming me out a bit. Apparently we’re looking at 2500$ for smile reconstruction. Yay health insurance?

Re: I smashed my elbow

In article <dogbowl.1swkom@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com>,
“dogbowl” <dogbowl@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> wrote:

> i can’t believe this completely rotten thing has really happened to me.
> Last week I seriously smashed up my elbow while riding my 29er.

What an awful cautionary tale! You have my sincere sympathies and best

Thank you for the timely and hard-earned reminder. Seriously – it’s
particularly apropos to me, as we’re effectively the same age (although
your birthday parties are bigger than mine, i’d guess). There but for
the grace…

My only advice is: Let It Heal.


those elbow pads are important. i bought some about a month after learning to uni, and during my very first ride with them on i hit my elbows hard attempting a freemount. it happened so fast and i hit so hard that i don’t dare ride without them anymore, at least not yet. still haven’t gotten around to buying knee pads though…

Ouch. I’m glad to see the “for now” qualification regarding your unicycling days. It would be depressing for me to not have that outlet, I can only imagine how you feel…along with being an artist with injured chops. I hope you heal well enough to be able to get back on it without fear of making it worse. I’m always impressed with the body’s ability to heal. I had a minor shoulder separation a few weeks ago that at the time made me wonder if I would be riding any trails this summer, but only a mild residual soreness remains so I’m going for it. I hope you get to that point. Good luck.


Re: I smashed my elbow

unidaddy wrote:
> Ouch. I’m glad to see the “for now” qualification regarding your
> unicycling days.

Shhhhhh!! I was going to try to buy his killer unicycle off him until
you went and encouraged him!

Re: I smashed my elbow

Steve, that’s really bad! I hope you heal quickly (insofar possible)
and completely.

I usually MUni with 661’s (shins & knees), helmet and wrist protector
gloves. I have realised for years that my elbows are the “next” thing
to protect, yet I never got around to buying and using elbow
protection. Maybe I should? But then what’s the next next thing?

(I’ve never hurt my elbows badly. The worst was during the 2005 Dutch
MUni weekend. I fell backwards on my left elbow when I tried to make
it to the top of a skatehall ramp. It’s more than a month ago but it
still hurts when I press it ‘wrong’ such as on a chair’s hard arm

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

I ride like a princess. - john_childs

I hope you get better soon. Your bad experience might be a timely reminder. To go for a ride and put all the gear on takes time. The 661 elbow pads seem to take that bit extra aqd don’ t seem that necessary. I will now take a frac longer and put them on.

Any bway get better.

Dogbowl -

Please heal fast. Your post rings a clear bell - I’m getting elbow pads now.

That’s a real bummer - I hope it heals up quicker than they think.

I won’t feel such a wimp for wearing my elbow pads now (I always seem to be the only one wearing them - thought I was just extra paranoid).

I’ve always been lucky and not injured myself badly, although I’ve had a few spectacular crashes (mostly on bikes at high speed, usually “helped” by cars), but always seem to get away with nothing worse than grazing, cuts, bruises, and the odd broken finger or cracked rib.

I know I’d be gutted if I couldn’t ride my bikes or unicycles, so I sincerely wish you the speediest possible recovery. Don’t give up though - I’m sure you’ll be able to ride again (gently) when your elbow starts to heal, if you keep it well strapped up and protected. Perhaps ride a smaller wheel so you’re going slower and nearer the ground for a bit.

Good luck with everything, hope it doesn’t cock your plans up too much.


I don’t post much these days but I check in and lurk every so often. Please forgive the B. Clinton quote but, “I feel your pain”.

My injury was a broken collarbone suffered on a seemingly innocent Coker ride.

I’m just a couple of years older than you and yes, something like this will have a huge impact on your day to day life. And in your case the recovery time will be much longer than mine turned out to be.
I won’t bum you out anymore than you no doubt already are with the details of my situation, but your life will get back on track and the unicycle may or not be a part of it. Your priorities will change I’m sure but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Once I was healed well enough to ride and get out and do some MUni riding, I did just that. Just to get back “in the saddle” as they say. But once I got that out of the way that was it. Other than a quick spin down the driveway and back every now and then, I just don’t have the desire to ride my uni and haven’t for quite some time now. I’m a very avid bicyclist (always have been) so I do have that outlet. This is not a popular opinion around here but there is a very full life A.C. (after unicycling).

I’m sure you know that as far as your art goes, drawing/ sculpture, creativity etc… it is in the head. You’ll find a way to get it out.

Again, I’m extremely sorry to hear about your situation and wish you all the luck in the world.

- Frank

Re: I smashed my elbow

I don’t blame you for being bummed out. What a disaster. Like you say, it happens unexpectedly and only to the unprotected parts. But yours is a serious injury with long term consequences like Scott Wallis, Max Dingemans, Steve DeKoekkoek, and Dustin Kelm had. Even Dan Heaton had a bad injury from which he recovered in record time and rode again. He was supposed to be in a wheel chair for six weeks after breaking both ankles falling off a giraffe. Then crutches for some extended period of time. But instead of being in a wheelchair six weeks after the injury he was winning the street riding competition at the Cali MUni weekend. That makes me think your unicycling days are over…but just for now. Those guys came back from big time injuries and rode again. I hope you can get back on soon and get that freemount down. You will own it, Steve. I hope to see you back in a big way.

Re: Re: I smashed my elbow

Thanks for the positive post. I agree with you. If Steve wants to get back to riding his uni, he will, when the time is right. I think it may also have a bit to do with unfinished business. I have accomplished just about all I ever wanted to do as far as unis and MUni goes so I’m okay with giving it a break.
Please don’t misinterpret my post. Unicycling is a great sport. My injury was the worst I’ve ever had. It could just as easily have happened on a bike but unfortunately I do associate it with unicycling.

I still have two unis and I plan on keeping them. True, I don’t spend much time on them these days but when I feel like it I’ll ride again.

Right now you’ve got more important things to deal with so focus your energies on that. The body has some amazing healing powers.

Good luck,

  • Frank

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the encouraging replies and the kind get well messages.

I know that I’ll be back on the one-wheel, in one form or another, I just can’t imagine how long it might take. And indeed, I’m so totally bashed up by this, that I might invest in a full Medieval Knight’s suit of armor before I do any kind of cycling at all. :wink:

The cast I currently have on my arm feels like it weighs 50 pounds and there are all these metal pins sticking out of it. And instead of us all being on vacation, my wife and kids are stuck here with me in our sweltering New York apartment. One dumb moment on a hard sidewalk leads to months of drastic inconvenience for everyone…

The boring thing is every time I tell someone what happened, they always roll their eyes and say something like “yea, those unicycles, they ARE dangerous” and this is a drag because I honestly don’t hold this event against unicycles, but on my own bad luck. It easily could have happened on a bike, or on rollerblades, or even walking. People have accidents all the time–but an accident on a unicycle suddenly marks it as a “dangerous” thing to do. Hell, a woman in my building just broke her ankle the other night while out walking her dog, but I’ll bet no one tells her that dog walking is dangerous.

I do wish I had those elbowpads on–they would not have prevented the accident, but maybe, just maybe they could have prevented this injury.

Anyway, thanks again for all the kind words. And even if I won’t be riding for a while, (and that can be a long, long time) I’ll still be lurking around these forums, though I don’t think I’ll be posting much because it’s tougher to type with my left hand. Nevertheless, I’m still a fan of the unicycle scene, even if I can’t participate.

And of course, as the saying goes, “once a member of the Sun 28 Appreciation society, ALWAYS a member of the Sun 28 Appreciation society!” :smiley:

how did you type the long message? Good luck healing

This is the first post I read after a week away from the forum for NAUCC. What a total bummer! I felt sick for you as I read your post.

Hey, maybe you can just tell people you fell on a sidewalk, and your elbow broke your fall. :wink: That may save you a few of these. :roll_eyes: It’s bad enough having to deal with the inconvenience, but to have a judgement passed on the way it happened is like throwing salt in the wound.

A year from now this will all be a distant memory. THis didn’t happen to have occurred while carrying a cigar did it?:smiley:

Slowly. Very slowly. One letter at a time. As a temporary invalid, I have more time on my hands these days–or, I guess I should say, my left hand…:frowning:

I wish! Then at least it would have been worth it! On the other hand, a good cigar would have most likely prevented this disaster.:slight_smile:
Ironically, I was all set for my own cigar ride the next day --I got myself a decent te-amo and I even found someone to record the momentous event with my digital camera (for immediate posting on these forums)–but now I guess I’ll have to wait…riding the unicycle while smoking the cigar at the same time remains a dream…unless I can somehow do it with a cast on my arm!:smiley: