A brief synopsis of the day that started like any other; then my life changed in an instant.

Grey, hovering clouds did not appeal to my fair-weather colleagues. I willingly took my Grade 10 Physical Education class outdoors to embrace the cool autumn air while they opted for the guarantee of a dry class indoors. The aim of my lesson was to increase student confidence and skills necessary to create an offensive advantage in striking games. Students were thrilled to finally start using baseball bats following a handful of introductory sessions.

With the eye of an eagle, I replay the accelerating ball approaching in s l o w m o t i o n. Lifting my hands to embrace my head as I plummeted to the ground, I wanted to mask the pain and ensure my students were safe. I needed them to find help quickly.  

Months leading up to Wednesday, September 3, 2014 had been spent trail running and cycling enjoying a new found passion in duathlons; no amount of training could have prepared me for what followed. Two colleagues raced a car on the field and drove to Emergency. Faces and lights painfully radiated down on me as I lay on a stretcher. Passing the coherence test, I was sent to the Bavarian flat where I lived on a farm within minutes. It was only a black eye so, no doubt, I would be fit to race in Switzerland by Sunday.

A plastic bag of frozen berries became the ice pack intended to soothe. I could only hope that it would ease the barbaric pounding in my head. Nausea set in, though too unstable to move, the plastic bag became the vomit bag. Averse to all foods associated with the trauma, my appetite disappeared as fast as the ball that hit me. I remained listless, in and out of consciousness.

Having planned to accompany me to the weekend’s duathlon, a friend arrived Friday to someone swollen and coloured beyond recognition.  With formula 1 speed, he raced me back to the ER. With shock and disbelief, ER staff had me immediately moved into an ambulance destined for  Murnau Trauma Hospital where I spent the following 4 months on the Neurosurgical Unit. From this critical state, the ambulance was the start of my clinical recovery which would cross 2 continents, 3 countries and 7 hospitals.

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  1. Sonya terBorg says:

    I am in awe of you. It makes my heart so happy to hear from you and to get to virtually piggy-back with you along your trails. I have shared your blog with my colleagues so they can learn of your grit and resilience. Looking forward to our trails crossing again, soon xx

    • mountainsofmymind says:

      Thank you for sharing the Mountains of my Mind website with family and friends around the globe Sonya; I hope that, in turn, others may find a link to resiliency in times of adversity.
      With heartfelt appreciation, best for happy healthy trails ahead and too look forward to our trails aligning.

  2. Myra says:

    Thank you so much for this truly inspirational story. I am from a Lifeskills class in Germany and we’re learning about mental health and resilience, this is truly inspirational and I am so happy I got to hear your story. Sending best wishes, keep up the amazing work!

    • Jill Wheatley says:

      Thanks so much for personally reaching out Myra.

      It lights my smile knowing that your class connected to my story and found it to fit with your studies of mental health and resilience. Please keep following along, I would like to help in anyway I can.

      Happy, healthy trails,