June 29, 2006 at 8:03 a.m.

Ross Jones-The road to recovery

Ross Jones-The road to recovery
Ross Jones-The road to recovery

Every week, teenagers take to fields, courts and courses to compete in sporting events. They don’t think about or plan for serious injuries and the effect those injuries can have. One local soccer player is sharing his story with readers to allow some insight into a part of sports not often reported.

About Ross Jones

Ross Jones, who just completed his junior year at Chisago Lakes High School, broke the femur (the upper bone) in his right leg playing in a traveling soccer game June 8. The next evening, he had surgery at Fairview Southdale hospital to insert a long plate and about a dozen screws to hold his femur together. Jones, a strong, slender, dark-haired kid of average height, left the hospital on Sunday, June 11 and went home.

Jones plays soccer, hockey and baseball at Chisago Lakes. In a series of articles, we will explain about Jones’ injury, operation, and recuperation as he strives to recover so, hopefully, he can play all three sports during his senior season. The updates will be determined by how much happens in a given week.

The story is in Jones’ own words. He’s not doing a diary – like any high school kid, he doesn’t want to spend his summer doing what seems like schoolwork – but interviews with Jones will be in the paper. Comments by parents, friends, coaches will be noted. Otherwise, this journey will be his.

The Prelude

There was a busy, important weekend coming up for the Jones family. Jones’ brother, Rick, would be getting married in Mankato on Saturday. Jones and his brother Brian were going to play in a traveling soccer game (coached by dad Steve) Thursday night, and then all three were going to go to Rick’s bachelor party after the game. The family, including Jones’ mom, Diane, planned to head down to Mankato on Friday.

In His Own Words

The other team [Edina] had possession at top of box and Peter [Rozumalski, Jones’ teammate] came out of nowhere, went to block a shot and tripped the other team’s player. I was trying to get in front of the ball to clear it. I cleared it – or at least I hit the ball – and then the guy’s whole body fell on me as I was kicking the ball, which kind of made it worse.

I felt that it hurt. I screamed initially, and I was going to try to get up. But I looked at it and realized I shouldn’t. At that point I screamed again because it was just disgusting looking. The third scream was in frustration as I waited for the ambulance because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to play for awhile.

I remember grabbing Blane’s [Jones’ teammate, Blane Maher] arm.

Maher says “I knelt down by Ross and he grabbed my arm and squeezed it hard. I wondered why he was squeezing it so hard. Then I saw his leg, and it didn’t look good.”

I must have pinched a nerve or something, because it never really hurt all that bad. It just felt like a big dead leg. I just pretty much tried to relax and breathe till the ambulance got there. It was only a five or ten minute ride in the ambulance. I didn’t have to wait long for x-rays, but I was really hungry and they wouldn’t let me eat. They thought I was going to have to have surgery that night.

One of my friends called me on my cell phone after the X-rays and they didn’t believe that I had just broke my leg. I was sitting there with my leg all mangled and I was trying to reach my bag to get to my phone. It was kind of funny.

An hour or two after the X-rays, my mom got there. I said to her ‘at least it wasn’t the car this time.’ When I woke up later, at about 11:30, they told me the surgery would be tomorrow. They let me eat. It was like a really crappy TV dinner.

At that point, they gave me a button that I could push and that would give me some drug to kill the pain. But I didn’t really need it. They constantly asked what my pain level was, on a scale of one to ten. It was usually about a two. That got irritating after awhile.

The operation was scheduled for 6 at night on Friday, but they thought they might be able to move the surgery up. I couldn’t even drink water on Friday. I couldn’t have anything in my stomach, because it wouldn’t be good if I puked.

By the time they realized they couldn’t move the surgery up, it was too late for me to eat. Friday, a few people came to visit me – Kelsey, Jordan [BelleIsle] and Mitch [Klimek], I think. I was still a little out of it. I’m not really sure what time they did the surgery because I was out of it. It started some time between 6 and 8.

Since my family was at my brothers’ wedding, Yvonne Anderson was there for the surgery. She’s a nurse and the mother of Kelsey Anderson, a girl in my grade.

I woke up with a knee brace on and a little woozy – at 10 or 11 on Friday. I didn’t get to eat that whole next day. I wanted to eat so bad. They didn’t let me eat till Saturday night at midnight.

Early Saturday morning, when they first let me have something to drink, they didn’t tell me anesthesia messes with the digestive system, so I should take it slow. So I drank a ton of water and puked it all up right away. It was just all water, so it wasn’t too bad.

Saturday I got my crutches, so I didn’t have to use the bedpan any more. That was nice.

Morgan [Baumgard], Jordan and Johnny Hogie came Saturday and brought me some videos. Saturday night was the first night I slept pretty well. Sunday was the day I got out.

By Sunday I was getting pretty antsy to get out of there. We were just waiting around for the doctor to release me. My parents showed up at about 10 and brought me a big chunk Rick’s wedding cake. I ate a little piece and gave the rest to the nursing staff. We didn’t get to leave till, like, 3:30.

I went home and sat around. They switched me over from the “buttons” drug to Percocet. I took a couple before I went to bed Sunday night, and didn’t take any more after that.

For the most part, I don’t have any pain unless I stand for a really time. People ask ‘Does it hurt? Do they have you drugged up? I tell them ‘No, it’s like having a broken arm; they don’t have you on painkillers.’

The plate they put in my leg is about a foot long with eight screws. I have a scar on the outside – mid-thigh to the bottom of my knees. The plate is permanent. It’s not screwed into my lower bones. It’s just to keep my femur together.

At first, they though the kneecap had just slid over.  It turned out my leg had broken just above the growth plate at the thickest part of the femur.  The whole knee had shifted over about 70 degrees. I have to have a cast on for six to eight weeks.

I’m supposed to do muscle stretching and flexing exercises. I’ll talk to the doctor in a couple of weeks, if I’m lucky. They want me to flex my knee and stretch my calf. Hopefully, that will keep my leg from turning into a toothpick.

I’m going to have Yvonne take the stitches out in a week so they don’t grow over by the time I see the doctor.

They said it would be twelve weeks for total recovery, but I’m not sure what total recovery means. I’ll walk with a limp when they take the cast off, then I’ll need to build up strength for cutting and turning and that stuff. So, I’m shooting for halfway through the soccer season. That will help to get me in shape for hockey, too.

I plan to do weightlifting once I get the stitches out – make myself look like a triangle with legs; sort of the Kevin Hogie look (that’s a joke).

NEXT TIME: The beginning of the recovery process.

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