• Cindy

Water Skier Breaks a Leg - Where was Sir Lancelot When You Need Him

Makay is a 25 year old world class water skier who lives in California. In 2013, Makay was in Orlando competing in a water skiing tournament.

Makay practicing her craft a few days before her accident

Before the afternoon competition began, Makay and her friends decided to spend a little time at a watering hole near the competition site. The watering hole was surrounded by trees with lots of vines that could be used to swing over water that Makay and her friends thought was at least 10 feet deep.

By her nature, Makay is a risk taker. Professional water skiers routinely attain speeds of 35 to 40 miles per hour while traversing water laden with wakes and waves. On this warm September morning, Makay was swinging on a vine and decided to do a cannon ball dive into the water below.

Makay's x-ray clearly shows a large crack in her fibula

Her social media hashtag of #imdumb #brokenleg #shallowwater #dontdoacannonball pretty well sums up what happened next. Makay landed in 14" of water and suffered a two inch longitudinal break in her fibula. While the pain and shock were overwhelming, humiliation would turn out to be the emotion of the day.

Poor Makay managed to land with her foot wedged tightly between a tree root and a large rock. In spite of her friend's best efforts, Makay was stuck sitting in muddy water for 4 hours. An ambulance was summoned. The EMT's had no idea how to free Makay's foot. The police arrived but offered little assistance other than traffic control into the isolated watering hole. Finally, the fire department arrived with not one, not two, but three fire engines. The tree root was finally cut with a water immersible chain saw, and the little cupcake was on her way to the hospital.

Makay the evening of her accident at her hotel

At the ER, Makay's foot was pushed into a 90 degree angle and she was placed in a back slab splint. While the splinting process was painful, nothing compared with the 4 hours spent in the muddy water. "Every time someone touched my foot, the tree root, or that damned rock, pain shot from my toes to my hip. I got light headed. And I had trouble breathing. During those 4 hours, I bet 50 people tried to free my foot. It was like the story of King Arthur and the sword. Except I was dealing with a bunch of redneck first responders instead of the Knights of the Round Table."

Makay the following morning at the Orlando airport lined up with other cripples waiting to board her plane to Denver

The next day, Makay flew home to California. She had to change planes in Denver. Makay's mom and dad arranged a wheelchair transfer for her in Denver and booked a late afternoon appointment at the local orthopedic clinic.

Makay emerged from her orthopedic appointment in a full leg cast angled sharply at the knee. Surgery was discussed but the surgeon involved believed the fracture would heal with a properly angled full leg cast.

Makay discovering the joys of a shower cast cover a week after the injury

Makay, cast now covered in signatures, waiting to have lunch with mom in California

Getting her toes done. In the professional water skiing community, pedicures are apparently an important part of life. Skiers are barefoot a large part of the day and feet are subject to water abuse

After five weeks in the full leg cast, Makay was placed in a Patellar Bearing Cast. The unusual angle of her break required minimal movement in the ankle.

After four weeks in the short leg cast, Makay was cleared for full weight bearing. Somehow Makay lost the competitive spark after her injury. At the age of 19, she abandoned water skiing and went to college at the University of California Sacramento. Six years later, she is a customer service representative for a Health and Wellness Company in Sacramento.

Makay fully recovered from her injury

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