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So, there I was, lying on the floor with a broken leg after jumping from an airplane, falling several thousand feet and hitting the ground quite hard, thinking “this is it, no chance of being an analog astronaut now”.
The OeWF selection rounds were in a couple of weeks and I was sure I would not be able to make it. Strangely enough that was my first thought. Yes, I knew something was wrong with my leg, and I could feel the adrenaline wearing off and the pain slowly spreading through my leg. And yet, my mind was not there. My sole concern was that I would be able to make to the selection round.
A visit to the doctor confirmed what I already knew: a broken fibula with rupture of the deltoid ligaments. Lucky enough an aligned fracture, meaning no surgery and a (relatively) quick recovery time. I rushed to writing the dreaded e-mail to OeWF communicating the accident. Again, even with quick recovery time, I was not sure I would be accepted for the selection rounds. I probably never waited so nervously for an e-mail before in my life…
And guess what? Here I am. The guys at OeWF were more understanding than I could have hoped for and we managed to find a work around. I was given the OK for the “B selection round” and that gave the motivation I needed to get back on my feet as soon as possible.
Sure, the first days were hard. My hands were full of blisters from walking with crutches, my arm muscles ached and I was not having fun staying at home the whole day, not being able to move much. But the human body is an amazing thing. From the moment I was there lying on the floor, thinking that I would not be able to be here, my bone was already starting its healing process. My blisters went way after a few days, my arms got used to walking with crutches and I started exercising within my limitations (I mean, you don’t really need two legs to do push-ups!).
But the most important thing it did for me was that it made me question myself. It made me think, “why am I doing these things?” “Why am I skydiving?” “Why do I want to be an analog astronaut?” There some clear risks to it. And the most important question: “Is this what I want to keep doing?”.
I thought about it for a long time. And it didn’t matter in which way I looked at it, the answer was always a clear “YES!”. If anything, breaking my leg taught me that my body and my mind can adapt any situation (living on crutches is actually not that bad once you get the hang of it) and mostly importantly it proved that this is truly what I want to do with my life. It is probably the most motivated I’ve been in my live.
So next time you break your leg (and hopefully that will never happen) look at it as a chance to improve yourself further.
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