The weirdest/lamest, possibly unicycle related, injury ever

Last night I was running at the ISU rec center, as I do about 4 times a week every week. Around mile number 2 I got really short of breath and my chest felt tight. I thought I was having “the big one”, but couldn’t really believe it because I’m 21 and in good shape. I walked a few laps, felt a bit better, and headed home.

When I didn’t feel better this morning, I knew something wasn’t right. Two doctors and a chest xray later I find I had a spontaneous pneumothorax, or a spontaneous partial collapse of a lung.

Apparently young, athletic males who are tall and thin (I’m 6’7" and presently 180 lbs) are especially prone to this.

The immediate treatment in my (minor) case is to do nothing, though a chest tube is necessary if the lung doesn’t inflate it self. Additionally, I’m not supposed to do anything very physical for about a month. I’m hoping to atleast ride to class, but we’ll see. Also in jeopardy are spring break plans, which included climbing in Colorado or muni in Moab.

I posted this here because apparently chest trauma is sometimes a cause for pneumothorax. Earlier that evening I had been riding down a full flight of stairs and biffed pretty hard, twice. I landed on my back/butt both times. On the third try I finally cleared the set and felt fine. Neither doctor really thought the crashes were related, but some research on the internet may or may not disagree. I read about a few cases where athletes (like football players) experienced a pneumothorax after a hard hit. Bottom line: Be aware, and don’t hesitate to do something if you feel short of breath.

If you wanted to know more about pneumo, check out:

//edit: I did have elbow pads under the sweatshirt, but I wasn’t wearing gloves (stupid, stupid, stupid). I’d actually forgot them at home.

Also, the reason the steps were so terribly vexing is that they were marble and had a thin glaze of water/ice on them from the thaw earlier that day. I kept losing traction just trying to maintain my speed.

That sounds really scary George. Be sure and follow your doctor’s intructions and take it slow for a while.

I landed on my back pretty hard at MONDO last week. I was jumping off of a low platform with the muni, and I think I didn’t get out far enough from it and the tire sort of hit the edge and rolled out. Anyway, I landed hard on my back and my thigh landed on a balance beam we were riding on. I limped around for a bit. I get short of breath easy anyway. Doctors at the VA told me I had a lung restriction about ten years ago.

Mojoe in snowy Iowa

HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oooo i never EVER thought i would benifit from being short… I’m sorry :frowning:

WOW :astonished:

Greg, take care. It sounds scary. Hope you heal on schedule.

All the best!!

George, same thing happened to a friend’s college age son. He too is tall, lean and athletic, his was spontaneous. He’s fine, take it easy.

Hope your recovery is a quick one.

Re: The weirdest/lamest, possibly unicycle related, injury ever

6’7? wowza. I thought I was tall at 6’3 (also 180 lbs)


Good luck with your recovery. Riding stairs is something I’ve not really tried much of. It looks scary but very fun.


I aspirated my first one of those last week :smiley:

Take it easy George!

I had to get checked out for that once. While playing lacrosse in H.S. I got hit with the ball from a shot in the chest. About two days later while mowing the lawn, I felt a sudden pain in my chest. It turned out to be nothing. Lucky me. Here’s to a quick recovery.

I also had a spontaneous pneumothorax when I was 16. I’m thin but not tall (5’7"). The only thing it could be attributed to was trumpet playing.

In my case it did not heal and required surgery. I have a 12" scar to show for it on my back. Take it easy and let that sucker heal.


I’m trying to picture someone 6’7 riding a Coker…or a giraffe!

Thanks everyone for the support. It’s nice to know I’m not the only unicyclist to experience this.

Just for you Sofa:


Nice shoes, i got the same. :astonished:

So THAT’S what happened

I recognized the feeling you described right away. It happened to me while running a couple of months ago. I felt almost ok the next day, so I didn’t go to a doctor, but I thing there’s a good chance it was that pneumo-thing.

Ill take it a little more serious if it happens again.

Im 1.99m or about 6’6 and around 160 lbs, so I’m supposedly at risk. I don’t remember any thing about chest trauma though.

Thanks for posting George


Re: The weirdest/lamest, possibly unicycle related, injury ever

Now that’s the longest Coker seatpost I’ve ever seen! Get well soon George.


“gbarnes” wrote:
> Thanks everyone for the support. It’s nice to know I’m not the only
> unicyclist to experience this.
> Download attachment:

Re: Re: The weirdest/lamest, possibly unicycle related, injury ever

It’s a 400 mm post. :smiley:

I went back to the hospital today for some more xrays. The air cavity in my chest has not gotten any bigger so I don’t need a chest tube. The doctor even cleared me to go rock climbing, downhill skiing, and lifting, though I’m still not supposed to do anything strenuous for a month.

Thanks again,

Funny you should mention that. The webmaster just added a picture of me on a giraffe to the ISU Unicycle Club website today.

The club’s website is:

There’s pictures from Mondo, more pics from the BRR ride, RAGBRAI, and other stuff.

Best to you, George. Do they say that your body will absorb the air in the chest cavity until it disappears? Or does it have the chance to migrate the way the bends does?

And what’s that cool-looking double-unicycle t-shirt thingie? That could revolutionize unicycling because it would make front-to-back balance unnecessary. That could almost make cycling possible for the masses. What do you call it?

Supposedly/hopefully the air just gets absorbed over the next 2 weeks.

That’s an old, old “Primal Wear” t-shirt from my bicycling days. The shirt depicts a bike composed of human bones.

In that picture of you on the Coker, is that a Camelbak Rocket on your back? I’m just wondering if you like it because I think if I ever get a hydration pack that’s the one I’d get.

Sorry this is off-topic. :roll_eyes: