previous fracture of cpine in an accident 45 years ago. Recent fracture of vertebral body due to running and/or accidental kick by psychotic patient

To anyone who has ever suffered with a vertebral fracture, you know the pain is unrelenting, radiating, disabling and painful beyond belief. My original injury was due to a fall from an amusement park ride back in the 70s. After nearly a decade, I was back to skiing, running and playing sports. 30 years later I became a triathlete and won several medals in my age group.

I love being active having always been in sports (gymnastics, figure skating, skiing). It was difficult not to exercise or participate in any of the sports I ove so much. Growing up on the East Coast I had never swum in the ocean. One summer 6 years ago, I got over that fear and decided to try a sprint triathlon. I didn't train much primarily out of fear but I entered the Santa Barbara Tri and placed 4th in my age group Back came my competitive nature. I've participated in 5-6 Tris since that date every year enjoying the people and actually learning to like the ocean swim. Then, it happened. Not from training but from a psychotic patient who had a break while I was treating him - he assaulted me and I ended up with two additional spinal fractures. I had to take opiates including morphine and oxycontin. I sought out many surgeons who did not want to operate until I met the one surgeon who was doing innovative surgery on the spine. I had the surgey in June, 2016 and have now been out of my brace for two months. This month I have started Pilates and walking as my strength training. I have a long way to go but I plan to get back in the Tri cycle by next season.

I'm forever grateful to my physician at UCLA, Carol Mangione, MD for guiding me through this ordeal and helping me keep the spirit. Having been a UCLA Medical Center employee for nearly 12 years I support the programs and physicians and surgeons here.
Thank you to anyone who has had back or neck problems and makes it past the pain for you have given me hope. this hope coupled with the constant support and love from my three sons and daughter gave me strength. I hope this story will give you hope to do the same.

M. R.

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