If You’re Going to Play You’re Going to Pay

Archery is a safe sport. Rare accidents happen that involve cracked arrows or people poking themselves with their broadheads. But, for the most part archery is safe.

It is possible to injure a shoulder by pulling too much weight or over use. Lars Andersen’s archery acrobatics will catch up with him and he’ll take a tumble. And bow hunters will continue to fall out of tree stands. But, next to badminton archery is the safest sport.

Archery, however, isn’t the only sport where I compete or play at it. Five years of football left me minus a meniscus. Boating put me in surgery when I impaled my leg with a sharp pointed chunk of galvanized steel. But, those aren’t the most frequent type of injuries for me – the majority came from cycling.


In competitive cycling athletes are going to crash. I can’t recall the numbers of mornings, following a crash, when I’d awaken to find my road rash had sealed me to the sheets. Most of my crashes were near the finish line where things become chaotic. One particularly bad crash lost me a National Championship and landed me in the hospital. Another rough one was going downhill at 48 mph when my front tire went flat. I left a lot of skin on the road following that slide.

There are plenty of ways to get hurt when doing sports or playing hard. For example, bouncing through the woods on an ATV can leave wrists sore. Soreness isn’t a bad thing in my book. Crashing an ATV is worse. Jumping waves on a Yamaha Wave Runner will shake you up, but don’t lose control – ever. Crashing on water at 50 mph isn’t fun, and at 70+ mph can be real bad.

Running, as benign as that seems has hurt a lot of people. For me it has meant the lose of a number of toenails. Other folks complain of knee problems, foot problems, or hip problems. Once, while trail running I jumped onto a board to cross a small stream and landed on a nail. That was a shock. After a hard rain before the Ft. Yargo ½ Marathon trail run, the Georgia red clay was so slick I slipped and fell about 10 times. That only left the sore and frustrated.

Swimming has never been a burden to me – getting out of the water hasn’t been as forgiving. On three occasions I have been cut by something while getting out of the water and all three required stitches. The last time, I accepted the stitches in my hand and declined them on my foot. I had that glued closed. I was competing in an Ironman event within a week and didn’t want to bother having the stitches removed. I couldn’t reach the laceration on my foot to have removed the sutures. I took the ones in my hand out before the event. Actually, I got four of the out on my own. The fifth I couldn’t manage using my left hand. I was in a meeting with a group of business people and a physician. I asked the physician if he’d remove the remaining suture. When we took a break he took it out.

About two months ago I was playing hard with my dog. She’s a big girl and tackled me from behind. I knew she was coming, I thought I’d stop her. When she hit, I went up in the air and landed hard. On that landing I smacked my hip on a tree stump – it hurt. A few days later I was in an archery tournament. On downhill slopes, my left hip was uneven and excruciatingly painful. Each downhill shot was a distracting pain. I ended up a disappointing fourth.

To date, I can recall or have some account of 257 official sports events where I competed (excludes little league type events). This means that for every 51.4 events I end up at a world championship. The count doesn’t include the 2011 World Duathlon Championship in Switzerland where I gave up my spot or the 2015 IBO World’s since while I’ve qualified it hasn’t yet been held. If I added them now that is a World Championship every 36.7 events.

It has also meant: 43 stitches (8 separate occasions), two surgeries, three concussions, four broken bones, and too much road rash to remember with one exception. That time I crashed on my bike while on my honeymoon. The fall required an emergency room visit and subsequent mummy-like wrap on my face. Not good timing, not something close to being forgotten by my wife. To be fair to her it’s only been 35 years. However, just two injuries caused me to miss a competitive event. I missed my second Ironman Louisville and second Murrysville Classic Bicycle Race because of an injury.

What brings all of this to mind is the archery tournament in the morning. Why? Well, while playing hard in the yard I sliced my right thumb badly. It was a clean slice and although deep it will close at the expense of bleeding and leaking for a few days. The cut is just at the point where I hold the release while drawing. My guess is Sunday will be a bit bloody even if I’ll be in competing is a very safe sport.