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SheShreds Ambassador, Sam McCallum is at the ripe age of 16, but that young age didn’t stop her from having a life altering experience at the age of 13. After being involved in a bad car accident, Sam was lucky enough to be alive, let alone think of even wakeboarding or wakesurfing again. Her story below is one of bravery, courage, and strength.
I started wakeboarding in the summer of 2012. I immediately loved it and grew a passion for it instantly. I started wakesurfing in the summer of 2013 after I got a MasterCraft X30. I was very excited because with this new boat I would be able to do more tricks and I could wakesurf. Shortly after I got this new boat I was in a car accident that almost ended my life.
I was passenger in a car that hit a tree at a high speed. The people in the car with me were not inured, however I was in a coma, had a broken jaw, brain injury and not breathing. The paramedics arrived and used a breathing tube to help keep me breathing. Because of the severity of my injuries, they decided that I needed care from a Trauma 1 hospital. I was airlifted via LifeStar helicopter.
When I arrived to Advocate Christ Medical Center, the Trauma 1 hospital, I was in critical condition. They decided to remove the breathing tube and replace it with a tracheotomy. I was also loosing a lot of blood so they gave me several bags of blood to keep me alive. I had a very low Glascow Coma Scale, a neurological scale that aims to record consciousness, reading.
After ten days of being on a coma, I started to gain conciseness slowly. No, coming out of a coma isn't as easy as waking up and opening your eyes. It is a very hard recovery, but not impossible. Once my conciseness level and health was consistent and stable, I started inpatient therapy at the hospital. I had to learn how to breath, eat, speak, walk, think, feel, and well, everything again. I had little to no memories of before my accident and had to relearn who I was again.
After a few months in the hospital and extensive inpatient therapy, I was released from the hospital. I stated doing acupuncture and yoga as a holistic approach to recovery. I thought yoga would be very hard for me because the muscles I had were very weak and very tight. After my first class, I was surprised at how great I felt. Both my body and mind, felt lighter, my movements where more fluid and I was thinking clearer. I loved it!
I was also doing acupuncture a few times per week. I was intimated by the needles, but I was willing to give it a shot. Surprisingly acupuncture doesn't hurt at all. In fact, sometimes I would fall asleep with the needles still in my body. I started seeing results. My voice got better, the tension in my neck was better, my body felt great and my thoughts started to make sense.
Yoga helps me so much with action sports. It helps me with my balance when wakeboarding and wakesurfing. I can use it to help perfect my tricks. For example, if I'm having trouble with a spin or something similar, I can use poses that loosens up my hips, tightens my core, and helps with leg mobility. I also do Crossfit and that has helped me gain tons of strength, self confidence and so much more since my accident.
I have gained so much from yoga, acupuncture and Crossfit. I saw how much this holistic approaches to therapy helped me and I wanted to do what I could to share that with other people. That is why I am now a 200 hr RYT (registered yoga teacher). I plan to go to India for a month to learn true yoga and to get my 500hr certification. I teach yoga three times a week – twice at Reckless Crossfit and once at Younique Health.
I hope others find as much enjoyment and healing as I did with these holistic practices. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the people who introduced me to these exercises and forms of recovery that helped me through a really hard time of my life. It is because of the great therapists at Advocate Christ Hospital, getting acupuncture, practicing yoga, and all of the awesome trainers at Reckless Crossfit that I am where I am today. Thank you. Namaste!
Sam's injury brought light to the situation of head injuries in action sports. While amny board sports like snowboarding, wakeboarding, and skateboarding usually see athletes wearing helmets, it more serious than you think. While being a car won't prompt you to wear a helmet, it's important to know that head injuries are serious.
That's your brain, it controls your WHOLE body. It is important that you take care of your head when you are participating in a sport or have an injury. Take time to assess the situation, make sure you are good to continue riding or traveling. If you feel you have experienced a head injury like a concussion or have symptoms of a concussion, immediately stop what you are doing and allow your body to recover. It is a good idea to see a doctor and get professional assistance and opinions. For more information on educating yourself about brain and head injuries visit BrainLine.org.