My WWF Moment
On Saturday afternoon I ended up being sent to hospital with a possibly broken neck. Not good. That I'm sitting here now typing this means it turned out OK but at the time is was rather frightening.
I went to an offsite for work on Saturday at Sentosa. It consisted mostly of sports which were meant to encourage team spirit. This included volleyball, soccer and a very strange rugby-American football hybrid. We played on small sand pitches which for 7 aside teams was a bit of a squeeze. Given the variety of people's sizes, levels of fitness and sheer competitiveness, a few injuries were to be expected. This translated into a number of badly kicked shins, some twisted ankles, one broken ankle, a dislocated finger and some garden variety scratches and strains.
I was playing what was being called touch rugby when the incident occurred. As you could pass forward this wasn't rugby at all but the concept of touch tackles was there... and completely ignored. Because I have a good arm, every time the ball would go out of bounds, I would pass it up the field to a team mate who would then score. We'd run this about 5-6 times and were really creaming the other team.
So all I had to do was play defense and throw the ball in. The guys were getting pretty rough with each other and some serious tackling was happening which was against the rules but wasn't being stopped. I guess the refs gave up trying to stop these alpha males from their natural behavior.
Our side's defensive tactics were proving too effective so the other team started to load the big guys up front. The were getting frustrated and the game kept getting rougher. At this point I should probably not have been on the field at all.
I had made a mental note at the beginning of the day that while on the playing field, I would avoid Ben at all costs (he is notoriously aggressive and has claimed a few victims over the years). It was a good strategy poorly executed. I didn't realize he was nearby when the ball was thrown into our end. He jumped up to make the catch and when he came down, his 90kg landed on me (which incidentally was caught on videotape and on replay looked very much like a WWF slam). He clipped the back of my head which whipped back and I hit the ground like a ton of bricks. I heard my neck crack and felt searing pain as my head whipped back against the sand. I was hurting and more than a little freaked out.
After some commotion, I heard an ambulance. They put the neck brace on then strapped me to a body board and I was sent off to Mount Elizabeth hospital (which took about half an hour with traffic). At the hospital I was X-rayed and declared fit - no breaks. Just a wrenched neck with promises of serious stiffness for the next 2 days.
As a team building exercise, the day was unusually successful in my case. I don't care much for rah-rah outward bound kind of stuff. But when I was hurt, I realized that I had total confidence in the people around me to make sure I would get the best of care. I work with extremely intelligent and competent people who just so happen to be very caring as well. Yes they are competitive and tough but when you need them they are extemely reliable. I know a lot of compassionate people, but if I had to choose who to surround myself with in a time of crisis, I would pick the same people who helped me on Saturday. I realized that I have huge confidence in their abilities. They are extremely capable and I have high regard for them.
So all in all, despite my scare, I think I came out ahead.