That day I will never forget.  Being whisked away from the field of battle, I lay wounded on the stretcher.  The team would have to continue without me, but I was replaceable, and I knew it.  Being rolled away, bouncing across every bump in the field, seemingly on purpose, I could hear my comrades shout the cry of battle as they advanced toward the enemy.  I was later told that they had scored a touchdown as I was entering the ambulance, and that they had done it for me.

The ambulance ride was no better.  The jolts of the train tracks and pothole-riddled roads seemed to resonate through my body until they came to a crescendo at my left collarbone, which jutted from my upper chest like an extra knuckle balled up in anger.

The only question really was to operate or not.

The doctor said if we operate, we would be trading a scar for a bump that will diminish in time, as I continued to develop.  He also told me that I would one day be able to return to normal activities, no limitations whatsoever.  I was just to wear a sling and a brace for a couple of months.  It would have been much better though, if I had fractured it, then the healing and rehab would be much faster.  But I would be fine in time, and cleared for all full-contact activities.

Most of the damage, though, was psychological.  I, who was sought after by coaches.  I, who was the first one at practice and the last one to leave.  I, who was team captain.  I, who was Reggie, you know, the guy written up in the newspapers.  After they cut the equipent off me that day, I would never wear it again.

I was broken.


Reginald Thomas, Class of 2001