During our family gathering to exchange Christmas presents, grandson Ronnie, 11, sported a heavy brace over his left wrist. His injury came at a most inopportune time.
He was playing basketball when he fell and landed on his left wrist. That took him out of action for the rest of the day, and though it didn’t seem that bad at the time, the pain persisted. Finally, a trip to the doctor and an X-ray revealed he had suffered what the doctor called a buckle fracture.
From information I gleaned online, a buckle fracture, also called an incomplete or torus fracture, commonly happens when a child falls on an outstretched hand. Because kids have softer bones, one side of the bone may buckle upon itself without disrupting the other side.
The net result was the brace and an enforced hiatus from sports for a month or so. Extremely bad timing, since Ronnie’s baseball travel team was about to begin its indoor season. “I’m going to practice, but I can’t play for a while,” he said.
The good news was it was his left hand that was injured, and he’s righthanded. He still was able to throw the ball, which is a good thing for a pitcher. Obviously batting or fielding were out of the question until the brace came off three weeks later.
Over the holiday break his team had a tournament scheduled in Ohio. He traveled with the team to cheer them on even if he couldn’t play. Or so he thought.
As the time approached for the first game, only eight players were there. They contacted the ninth player’s family and found they had gotten lost en route and would be late arriving at the facility. The tournament rules wouldn’t cost them a forfeit for a late player, but other penalties would apply until the last player got there.
Ronnie only wore part of his uniform. But as a team member, he would be eligible to play. And as one of the team’s top pitchers he wouldn’t even have to take a fielding position (although anything hit back up the middle might prove to be a temptation). The opposing coach was reluctant to let a player wearing an orthopedic brace take the field. But the umpire said OK, and Ronnie went to the mound.
The good news is he pitched beautifully in his brief appearance. The bad news is his team ended up losing the game. Worse, his mom, Ruth, didn’t get to see him pitch, staying home because he wasn’t supposed to play.
The brace is off now. X-rays showed the injury has healed. And he has been cleared for full activity again.
The injury wasn’t bothering him during our Christmas get-together. His mother said he had worried whether he’d have trouble opening presents. His 6-year-old sister, Gracie, said she’d open them for him. Suddenly he decided it wouldn’t be any problem after all.
Jim Bailey’s column appears on Thursday. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.