It was a cold Colorado night, forty degrees and rapidly dropping. I was off to freeze through yet another football game, a scrimmage that I was dreading. Drew was the quarterback for a new team of boys that had never played the game.
First-time football players defending your quarterback against more experienced players is not a good thing. I was in for a night of cringing and praying that my growing boy would just keep getting up after each hit. I looked for him on the bottom of every pile and prayed that he’d still be moving.
As the scrimmage moved along, I watched in slow motion as a man-sized child came around from the back and horse-collared my son. His body dropped to the ground as the mini Hercules jumped up and down in celebration. He had sacked the quarterback.
Drew finally got up, but slowly. He motioned to me that he was fine and went back onto the field. As the game continued, he was hit over and over again. Play after play, he went to the ground. I kept thinking to myself that someone needed to stop this madness but I didn’t say a word, which in hindsight is totally out of character for me.
I am usually right behind the coach offering my suggestions like Sandra Bullock in the movie Blindside. One of my many favorite scenes is when she calls the coach on her cell phone from the stands. Why didn’t I think to do that this night?
Instead I just watched and waited. Dread filled my heart. Drew wasn’t looking right. He bent down to take the snap, stood straight up, walked off the field, and fell to the ground.
By the time I got to him, he was moving in and out of consciousness, and he couldn’t feel his right side. Someone told me later that I kept saying over and over, “You can’t do this to me again. You can’t do this to me again!” This was not the first time I had watched one of my children move in and out of consciousness.
As I kneeled down over Drew, sprawled out on prickly green turf, there was an all too familiar terror growing deep within. I prayed and told God “NO!” Riding to the hospital, I turned my head to the back to watch the paramedic work on Drew as we sped away from the field.
I fumbled with my cell phone trying to call Brad but my legs and arms were shaking and I couldn’t dial the right number. I watched as they pricked Drew with a needle as long as a ruler. The paramedics were stabbing him up and down his arms and legs numerous times trying to get his body to respond to the needle. Nothing.
He could not feel the needle, and all I could feel was the tension and the numerous shakes my own body couldn’t control. He felt nothing, and I was feeling everything.
I could barely see the top of Drew’s head. All I could see was his blond hair spilling out over the white bed sheet. I just kept telling the Lord, “I can’t do this again. I can’t Lord. Please don’t make me. Just please let him be okay.”
As I rode in that ambulance, my mind was going places it shouldn’t go. I mentally weighed which results I could and could not handle. If he was paralyzed, I could handle that. If he was brain damaged, I could handle that. I could handle anything if God would just let him live. In the fear and terror of the moment, I was giving God His options.
After Drew’s initial tests in Colorado Springs, the doctors decided to airlift him to Denver, to be safe. After a long night and many tests later, it was determined that he had sustained a severe concussion. The mental horror had been lowered to mild panic, and I was starting to breathe normally for the first time in several hours. As the dark night unfolded, I sat in the molded plastic chair lulled by the steady beeps and hums of equipment and began to process what had happened. Quiet tears tugged at the corners of my eyes.
Why is it that on one trip to the hospital, I left empty handed and another I walked out with my life still intact? I was staring at Drew but my heart was gazing at the past asking the same questions we all ask at some point. Why Lord? Why, me? Why, us?
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