• Cindy

Timing Is Everything

This is one of the most iconic broken leg pictures of all time.

10 years ago, Amber suffered a severely broken leg in a softball game. Then, 16, Amber was lifelong athlete having played softball, volleyball, and basketball. She lived in the panhandle area of Florida - very close to the Alabama border,

An opposing player exploded Amber's tibia and fibula while trying to reach first base. A photographer for a local news paper managed to capture the moment of the break on camera.

For most of us in the cast community, the picture is Amber's entire story. The picture so intrigued me, I decided to do a little research about Amber and her broken leg.

Amber is now 26, married, and the mother of a 4 year old girl. Hubby is a manly man. He is a hunter and a paramedic. He also plays softball. Amber and her hubby met in 5th grade.

I spoke to Amber's mother and to Amber herself to pull together background for this blog.

The aftermath of Amber's injury was not a pretty scene. Amber was in pain so severe she tried bite the hand of the high school athletic trainer who was examining the girl's leg. The break was not compound but both bones in the lower leg were pressing against the skin.

Fortunately, an ambulance was nearby. EMT's removed Amber's pant leg, shoe, and sock. There was a great deal of concern on the field about the blood flow having been compromised to Amber's foot. The foot had a bluish tinge and felt cold to the touch. Amber's dorsalis pedis pulse was weak.

If you look closely at this picture, you can see the scars from the rod insertion and fibula plating just below Amber's left knee.

The lead EMT - a blonde woman who Amber called a 'bitch' - made a decision to straighten Amber's leg on the softball field. The subsequent scene was so intense that further softball play was cancelled not just for the day - but for the entire season.

Amber was in surgery 1 hour after arriving at the hospital. A rod was placed in along her tibia. During surgery, she was placed in a soft splint and spent two days in the hospital.

A story appeared the next day in the local paper about Amber's injury. The iconic photo of the moment of break appeared on page one of the paper. In the story, Amber's mother talked about how upbeat Amber was in spite of the injury. Her teammates visited her in the hospital after surgery and presented her with a signed softball. Things were not as rosy as Amber's mom led on though.

The 26 year old version of Amber is just as cute as the 16 year old version.

One week after the injury, Amber underwent a second surgery to put a plate on her upper fibula. She was placed in a full leg green cast. Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate pictures of the cast.

Amber wore the full leg cast for 12 weeks. She then transitioned to a short leg cast and then a walking boot.

Amber attended Florida A&M and obtained her pharmacy license. She is front row, on the right.

Amazingly, the injury did not deter Amber's love of softball. Two years later, Amber was playing club softball in college. Softball is so deeply ingrained in Amber's DNA she staged a softball oriented photo opportunity during her wedding week.

Aren't the pink shoes a touch of class? Amber told me she thinks about her ordeal on the softball field every time she puts on softball cleats. Some things are hard to forget.

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