The day Scott ran an entire 5K race with a broken collar bone

The day Scott ran an entire 5K race with a broken collar bone

Here’s a story written by our son, Scott, about the day that he ran an entire 5K with a broken collar bone.

It started off like every cross country race I had ever run before. The day was warm, a beautiful, sunny October morning. That season I was running for Livonia Churchill High School. I was a sophomore, and had run the meet, The Jefferson Invitation, at Sterling State Park in Monroe, several times before. I was looking forward to a fun race with my teammates.

We were poking at each other and laughing at the starting line, trying to relieve the pre-race jitters. We had the Churchill Cheer, and finally settled down to wait for the starting gun. I remember thinking that there were more runners than usual, but didn’t pay much attention to that fact. That turned out to be a big mistake!

The gun went off, and we all took off at the same time, all trying for position. There was a big pack of us, much closer together than at any other race. The crowded pack caused me to have a sense of confusion. How was I to get past this mess to daylight and a clear path to run in? Suddenly, without warning, another runner ran into me. He knocked me down, and I fell hard onto the grass. I hit the ground, shoulder first, with the breath knocked out of me.

I scrambled back up to my feet, thinking only one thought. I had to finish this race. I had never started a race I didn’t finish, and was not about to start now. All I could see was the runners in front of me, and I was determined to catch up to them. There was no pain, no indication that anything was wrong.

As I ran, I suddenly began to realize that I was much slower than usual. And for some strange reason, my left arm would not move the same way as the right. I couldn’t figure that out. In the distance, as if from far away, I heard my coach yelling at me to come out of the race. Then I saw my father running towards me. “What’s wrong, Scott?” “Nothing,” I said. “I started this race, and I have to finish it.” The voices kept getting louder and louder, but I didn’t pay any attention. Nothing mattered but finishing the race.

Two miles came and went, and finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I realized that I was getting to the three mile mark. What was usually an easy race suddenly became just doggin’ it to the finish line.

When I saw the flags, I suddenly came out of my stupor, and realized that my left arm was hanging at my side. It looked like it belonged to someone else. Then, pain flooded my shoulder, and my body started to shake. I was scared, and I looked around to see if anyone would come and rescue me.

I didn’t have to wait long. Suddenly I was surrounded by a bunch of people. They were all talking at once. I wished they would stop. “I think he has a broken collarbone.” “Mr. Howse, you’d better get him to the hospital.” “Scott, how did you DO that, man!” “Are you all right, you knucklehead?” “Why on earth didn’t you come out of that race?” “I could never do that!”
In a strange way, I was enjoying the attention. At the same time, I didn’t understand it. To me, finishing a race, even with a broken collarbone, was not an unusual accomplishment. Why did they feel that it was?

I saw my father drive up on the grass next to the course. He grabbed my good arm and said, “Scott, it’s time to go to the hospital and get that shoulder x-rayed. The trainer thinks you might have a broken collarbone, and we need to find out. Let’s go.” I got in the car and drove with my father to the hospital.

When we arrived, and I told them what had happened, everyone stared at me in disbelief. “You did WHAT? I never heard of anyone doing that before! You ran a whole 5K race with a broken collarbone!” They x-rayed my shoulder, and sure enough, I had a broken collarbone. They put my arm in a sling, and told me to not run for 3 weeks until it healed, and keep my arm in the sling.

The next day, I was at home when the doorbell rang. My mother answered the door, and saw the four senior captains standing on the porch, each holding, hot, homemade cookies. The smell filled the house. “We’ve come to see the warrior,” they said, with admiring looks on their faces. “How did you DO THAT?” I couldn’t say much, just look at them with a painful, pitiful look. And look longingly at those cookies.

Cookies never tasted as good as they did on that day. They were my second reward. The first was knowing that if I could run a 5K race with a broken collarbone, just about anything could be possible in life. What could be more difficult?

P.S. Little did I know at the time that I would be a hero for years on the Churchill Cross Country team. The story of Scott Howse and the broken collarbone is told by the coach whenever an athlete complains about a little problem. He says…….”You think you have problems! You don’t know what pain is! Let me tell you the story………”

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