You are lying on your back facing the sky and you immediately begin damage assessment. You are still alive. Good. You still feel your hands and feet. Better. You can move them. Best. Anything broken? You gingerly get up to your feet and quickly realize that you were in full view of the riders on the chairlift. It is a convention among skiers to cheer a spectacular fall as long as the person is not obviously hurt. You get your requisite cheers from your audience as they are appreciative of your fall, and that it was you and not them.
You find your skis, strap them on, and in a slightly dizzy state limp down to the ski lodge where your spouse and child are waiting for you. This was the planned last run. You decided you are going to downplay your fall, but the first thing they say to you as their faces convey a look of shock is, “What happened to you?” How did they know, you wonder? What gave it away? Was it the look in your eyes? “Why do you ask?” “You have blood all over your face,” they explode. It turns out that the ice crystals in the snow cut the skin all over your face so not only do you have a severe neck injury, but your face is going to scab over in the next few days so everyone will be staring at you asking, “What happened to you?” So over and over you will be forced to tell the story of how you were skiing too fast for the conditions causing your right ski’s edge to catch, literally nearly killing or permanently disabling you.
This is certainly one of the most serious neck injuries I have encountered, right up there with the body surfing one that tore the disc away from the bone. The reason I can tell this in such detail is that I was the skier. It was my carelessness, my face (which explains a lot, right?), and it was my neck. Since joints are made of cartilage and cartilage has no blood supply, there is always some permanent damage from such an injury, but I underwent a fresh course of Intensive Care to heal the injury and minimize the damage, and then I returned to my normal Wellness Care. Even chiropractors need a good chiropractor.