The Story of How I Broke My Neck and Nearly Died: What I Learned And Why I’m Better For It

I broke my neck in a skiing accident last week, and it was both an awful and profound experience.

I was in beautiful Crested Butte, CO, spending a few days on the slopes, coasting about without a care in the world. It was delightful while it lasted.

Unbeknownst to me, a near-death experience was waiting to interrupt my picturesque vacation.

The Story of My Accident

On the third run of my third day of skiing (odd coincidence of 3s), I was barreling down a steep run, following a friend.

I knew the run became bumpy near the bottom. I thought I was exercising an appropriate amount of caution. Whether I was or was not is up for debate, but whatever the case, a collision was at hand.

The last thing I remember thinking before the crash was “Gee, these mounds are more treacherous than I’d anticipated. I probably shouldn’t be going this fast.” Still, I was almost certain I was going to make it through unscathed.

And then I didn’t.

The terrain threw me a touch off-balance, and suddenly one of my skis caught the ground and didn’t let go. I was launched forward.


That’s about all I recall — a serious smack to my skull as it struck the hard-packed snow. My neck snapped back from the whiplash and momentarily, I lost consciousness.

I awoke a second later and was soon on my feet. Muttering exasperatedly, I rubbed my neck and attempted to convince myself that I had not sustained any serious injury.

“Everything’s fine,” I thought. “I can walk this one off. Painful, yes, but it can’t be that serious.”

I proceeded to replace my skis (which, along with my hat, goggles, and poles, had been knocked from my person and were scattered across about 20 feet of snow) and carefully coasted another 10 minutes down the mountain.

While skiing, I realized I was light-headed. My neck was aching and a peculiar tingling was coursing through my arms and hands. I decided that, as much as I despise medical facilities, it would be best to go to the clinic and have a doctor examine me.

After explaining the events and my injuries to the doctor, she opted to take an X-ray. When the results were examined, the atmosphere shifted quite noticeably.

“I’ll just help you over here,” she said. “Let’s take it nice and slow and get you lying still.”

I was hurriedly informed that my neck had been fractured in two ways and that things were serious. Basically, they thought a chunk of my spine could be wedging into my spinal cord. They needed to take me via ambulance to a hospital 40 minutes away to further investigate with a CT scan.

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The next two and a half hours were an exceptionally uncomfortable and traumatic period of my life. Quite suddenly, I had gone from a simple walk-in with neck pain to a potential paraplegic in a frantic situation.

I had never been the center of attention in a medical emergency before, and let me tell you, this is not the place you want to be. Medical personnel were whooshing past, asking me questions, pulling curtains, whispering technical terminology, fidgeting with me, etc.

It was all very impersonal and frightening. The hint of genuine concern in the eyes of my care providers was largely shrouded by their professionalism and concentration.

A nurse produced an IV (I abhor needles) and proceeded to jam it into a vein in my right arm, but unfortunately, that arm “didn’t work”. So she grabbed my left, and luckily, found a suitable point of entry.

I then made the fatal error of admitting I had to use the restroom, to which they replied that I could not move and would thus need to relieve myself using a catheter (insert “Nooooooooo” scream in melodramatic slow-motion audio).

I’ll spare you the gory details and simply say that man was not meant to have a straw-sized tube forced down his urinary tract. I writhed in resistance as it pressured and scratched and burned and… Okay, I’ll stop. But really, I felt like I had been abducted by aliens and was being experimented upon. The catheter persisted to fester in my bladder for hours, somehow even after it was removed.

I had also complained of being cold, so they wrapped me in three blankets. Although warm at first, these fuzzy insulators proved excessive and would lead to profuse sweating for the duration of my immobility.

I was then encased in this foamy mattress-like thing that buckled around me. It would keep me from squirming or lurching in any dangerous ways during my transportation.

I felt mummified. For the next two hours, I could only move my feet and one arm. Otherwise, I was still as stone, drenched in sweat, slowly peeing what felt like lava, and wondering if I was going to need surgery.

Miserable, Mummified Me

Mummified Me Looking Miserable

After being debriefed, carried, jostled, driven by ambulance, reassured, hoisted, carted, and shoved into an enormous machine a couple of times, I finally came to rest, still unable to move, in a trauma room of the Gunnison Valley Hospital.

There I resided for an hour or so and contemplated the nightmarish scenario into which I had so impetuously stumbled.

Eventually, a doctor entered to explain the test results. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear them.

“Less serious than we thought. Stable fracture. Neck brace for two weeks. Discharge.”

These are words I remember hearing. Immense relief washed over my mind like a moment of clarity. I gave the doctor a high five, then immediately requested to be freed of my IV-and-catheter shackles.

I left the hospital soon after. Over the next few days, I slowly came to terms with what had happened and how lucky I was. As one friend so plainly put it, “Most people who break their neck don’t survive, you know.”

This resonated deeply with me. As horrible as my time in the hospital had seemed, it was nothing compared to what could have happened. I could be dead or paralyzed right now very easily. That’s a heavy thought.

As with every experience of mine, I reflected on what was to be learned. I found that breaking my neck didn’t necessarily teach me anything I hadn’t already realized, but rather, it reinforced old lessons in a new way. A few things I thought I understood became exponentially more clear.

This seems to be the case with many traumatic or intense experiences — they make us feel a lesson in a more significant way, thereby deepening our understanding of said lesson. Since my accident, I’ve felt more rooted in my core beliefs. It has become more effortless to be mindful and appreciative. Life seems a bit more savory.

These feelings may fade, but I will remember them and return to them, I’m sure. I believe our roadblocks and slip-ups can teach us volumes, if we let them. I intend to do my best to carry forward what I’ve gained from my injury. I want to share 7 of my most important takeaways with you now, as they may be of use to you.

Lesson #1: Our lives are precious; we truly have much to be thankful for when we wake up each morning.

I’ve written previously about the power of appreciation, and I am always trying to practice gratitude in my daily life.

I don’t think any experience has ever pushed me to feel such poignant thankfulness as breaking my neck. It helped me to realize that everyday things I do — walking, riding my bike, exercising, dancing, breathing — are often overlooked but are infinitely valuable.

Our lives are filled with wondrous opportunities, and every little thing should be viewed as such. Every small action should be performed with gratitude in mind. Appreciation reveals the divinity in all things.

Appreciation for this world, air, food, water, and the chance to love and be loved should always exist in our hearts. Our health alone is an enormous gift to be cherished and protected.

Lesson #2: More people love and care about us than we know; we’re interconnected; it’s never only about you or I.

Since the accident, I have been blown away by the number of people who’ve told me that I really scared them, or said they were praying for me, or offered wishes for a speedy recovery.

Such kindness uplifts me and shows me that there will always be hope for humanity. We are all in this together, and in difficult times we cannot help but empathize with one another.

It’s also an extraordinary reminder — a reminder that my life is not merely my own. Many people have invested time and energy into being my family member or friend, and they are bound up in my life as well.

My accident showed me how many people are affected by our actions. Our deeds ripple outward with a tremendous capacity to impact others, and it is imperative to send positive ripples.

Spread cheer, joy, love, and kindness. Be generous and compassionate. Smile. Wage war against selfishness. It is in our power to better the lives of other people, and therein lies our treasure and purpose.

Lesson #3: Mountains are unforgiving; it is up to you to be shrewd and avoid crashing into them.

“Mountains” here can be applied to many things — life, society, your boss, the audience, or whatever obstacle you deal with.

It is unwise to go through life expecting mountains to turn to cotton candy the moment you’re about to crash into them. Similarly, it’s much better to think more and make fewer mistakes than it is to learn gradually through careless errors.

I could argue that carelessness didn’t lead to my accident, but the facts indicate otherwise. I wasn’t wearing a helmet. This was my second ski trip ever. The slopes were icy. I was pushing myself to go faster and faster.

In hindsight, those elements were a recipe for disaster, but I didn’t think so at the time. I pitched my good sense out the window in favor of an adrenaline rush, and I paid a price. Don’t do the same. Be aware, prepared, and considerate of your own health.

Lesson #4: It’s important to understand your limits, in anything, and to push them in a conscientious way.

As I briefly touched upon, part of what caused my accident was my pushing myself too drastically. I craved the wind in my face and the scenery whisking by, and that focus drew my attention away from the potential dangers.

If I had been honest with myself about my status as an intermediate skier still becoming familiar with some of the basics, I would have been more careful and not stretched my boundaries so rapidly.

This is the same for anything. If you’re a beginning writer, write 250 words per day, not 2000. If you’re newly adopting an exercise habit, jog half a mile twice a week, not three miles per day. Work up slowly and steadily.

Pushing limits too drastically leads only to frustration and quitting or, in my case, injury. As Das EFX once sang, “Check yo self before you wreck yo self.”

Patience and a knack for being honest about your abilities are key here. We actually have a cognitive bias that causes us to overestimate our own skill level in almost anything, so do your best to stay humble and objective.

Lesson #5: There’s a fine line between healthy risk-taking and recklessness.

I am a fan of taking risks. People are far too afraid of what lies beyond their comfort zone, and this fear leads to all sorts of problems and unhappiness.

Doing things that frighten us shows us that we are more powerful and resilient than we thought. Taking what we perceive to be small risks prepares us for larger risks later on such as changing careers or starting a family.

Skiing in Colorado was something I perceived to be a small risk. Skiing down steep slopes is scary and exciting for me, which is exactly why it seemed like a great idea. And it was, for two days.

Unfortunately, at some point, I crossed the line between healthy risk-taking and recklessness. Paradoxically, we are resilient, but we are also frail and weak. I chose to disregard that. I chose to act as if I was invincible and immune to the laws of physics.

This goes back to pushing limits. We can only responsibly take risks when we understand our limits and the possible consequences. If we don’t, we’re just being reckless and are likely careening toward a harsh reality check.

Analyze, ask for advice, reconsider, re-imagine. Do what you need to do to be sure your risks are well-calculated.

Lesson #6: Life is too fragile and short to spend time living on anyone else’s terms.

We live on the cusp of death. Most people reject this or are just plain afraid to confront it, but many things could kill us at almost any given moment. From the moment of our birth, we are slowly deteriorating.

This is not a depressing thought for me, and it shouldn’t be for you, either. The fact that we’re all going to pass on from this human existence gives life much of its depth, value, and beauty.

Realizing that I nearly died in Colorado reaffirmed what has been a mantra of mine for several years: Live on your own terms.

Everyone and everything will pressure you to be someone you’re not, work a job you despise, and do things you aren’t comfortable doing.

Most people succumb to this pressure, telling themselves it’s only temporary and that they’ll get around to doing what they really want to do sooner or later.

Then they don’t. They find themselves on their deathbed wondering where the years went.

Don’t join them. Chase the dream. Sing your song. Write the book. Paint the masterpiece. Build the business. Watch the sunset. Stay up all night. Spend time with your family. Do what you do with love and do it because it’s what you want.

This is the only way to really live, and you’ll wind up with regrets if you ignore it. Be yourself, always and unapologetically.

Lesson #7: It isn’t constructive to dwell on perceived negatives or things that cannot be undone.

After an ordeal like mine, some people would undoubtedly sulk and curse the gods for poisoning their lives with such dreadful luck.

If I wanted to, I could hone in on many unfortunate aspects and effects of what happened to me — the pain, the hospital experience, the bills, etc. I could bemoan the circumstance and ask “Why me? Why meeee?!?!”

I’m not doing that, though. I’m doing something much more uplifting: Living and appreciating the present moment.

Within minutes of being discharged from the hospital, I had come to terms with the situation. I accepted what had happened and that I was going to wear a neck brace. I accepted that I would receive many inquiries and curious glances, and that there would be an inevitable, hefty price tag for my treatment.

I accepted what I could not change, and I let it go. I am directing my energy and effort upon the present moment with a renewed sense of wonder and gratitude. You may find it freeing to do the same.

A Challenge: Learn Something From My Accident

So there you have it. Those are the 7 big realizations that seemed immeasurably clear to me after breaking my neck.

But, as always, I wrote this post not for me, but for you, hoping you can learn from me.

All 7 of the lessons I outlined here may seem somewhat basic, but it’s amazing to me how much more profoundly I seem to comprehend them after the accident.

Because of this, I assume it’s likely that many of you think you grasp and will live by these suggestions, but in actuality, you won’t.

This isn’t necessarily bad. That’s for you to decide, but for those of you who agree with what I’ve said here, please ask yourself:

1. Am I really appreciating daily?

2. Am I sharing my gifts to help other people?

3. Do I thoughtfully avoid obstacles or crash into them face-first?

4. Do I push my limits in healthy and conscientious ways?

5. Am I taking appropriate risks? Or do I act recklessly/avoid risk all-together?

6. Am I living on my own terms? Am I doing what I love first and foremost?

7. Am I wasting time dwelling upon or worrying about things I cannot change?

These are, in fact, big questions, and they deserve some attention and reflection. So that’s what I’m asking.

Take some time to consider these questions and what I’ve written here, and see if you can learn something about how you could change your lifestyle for the better.

All of us (myself included) have much left to learn. Learning isn’t always without pain (as I found out), but knowledge and understanding are always worth the struggle.

I hope my accident teaches you something. That way, we’ll both be better for it. Keep learning and take care of yourself. We’ll talk again soon.

Your Friend,
Jordan Bates

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About Jordan Bates

Jordan Bates is a creator, entrepreneur, and perpetually curious autodidact interested in just about everything. He tweets a lot. He questions all the things. He makes unusual rap songs. He wanders the globe and writes about the most vitalizing, useful, and/or world-changing insights he happens upon. He dreams of a more compassionate, cooperative global community in which every human being’s basic needs are met and all sentient beings are respected. Befriend him and/or get his free eBook on how to exit the world of traditional work and live a radically free life. Amor fati, humans.

  • out of fire steel is born

    • Absolutely. Thanks for the comment, Brian.

      • gibran

        crazy .i was in a car accident .broke my c7 and fracture the ones around it ,halo for 3 month neck brace for two months ,left hAND NOT FULLY MOBILE ,suck but happy to be alive

        • David

          I also broke my C7. I also broke my C6. They wanted me to wear a halo, but I didn’t want to so I asked if they thought it would be okay with just a neck brace and they said it should with the way they broke. C6 broke vertically, and the other diagonally. I was a passenger in a car that rolled and my side was the one that slammed into the ground 2 times. They said if I wasn’t wearing my belt it could have thrown me and rolled over me. Also that me getting knocked out and the damage done on my side probably saved my life also. I was not bracing myself and just a rag doll from being out. The driver only got a big lip. We are both lucky to have came out of that a live. I have neck pain everyday. Most of the time is is just annoying minor pain like a over worked muscle, or like someone punched my lightly in the neck. Other days it feels like someone stabbing my neck and leaving the knife there. The pain is just a reminder that I made it.

          • shitize

            i got a dislocated elbow from a wwe (wrestling)move we brothers used to do. when it happens its like a hammer with 200F. temp. is hit on your joint and shit u cant UNDO the pain no matter what you i know my life-not meant to be worthless.

  • joshua

    I fractured my ceverical vertebrae as well…this read has given me a different perspective on what happened…thank you for writing

    • You’re very welcome, Joshua. Sorry to hear you had to go through that. It’s definitely a traumatic experience. It makes me really happy to hear that I helped you to see the accident in a more positive light. Take care, and stop back anytime. 🙂

  • Denis

    I dropped a squat bar on my neck right around the same time my parents split up. Luckily I didn’t break anything but the anxiety drove me up the wall for a good long while. Thanks for this post, it helps with putting myself back together.

    The fear that comes with neck injuries is truly gripping, it violates you down to your core. The fear of losing control, not being able to affect your environment. Good on you!

    • Denis,

      Dang, man. Really sorry to hear about the bar accident and your parents. Hope things are shaping up for you. You’re absolutely right — that fear of not being in control and the realization of how fragile your life really is can be quite overwhelming. At the same time, it can be a much-needed wake-up call. I’m glad this post helped you, man. Best wishes.

      • k macshon

        broke my c2 in my neck, could have been really bad / dead, paralyzed ,”fractures”, nothing broke through and through / 8 weeks neck brace I cried tears of joy, I love life to much / I am so lucky / thank you

  • nickknight

    that’s really a great post and a wonderful description out here, I really
    like the way things are being executed and discussed here.

  • James

    I just got back from Cancun today. Yesterday I was in the ocean near the beach and a huge wave hit me pulling me straight down head first. I felt my neck “crunch” as my head hit the ocean floor and the momentum of the water pulled the rest of my body forward. I suddenly realized I could have been paralyzed in that moment. Other people have been paralyzed while on vacation in shallow water with high waves. I came across your story Jordan while looking for other experiences online. Thanks for your words of wisdom because they are so true! I am living life on my own terms with appreciation that I can run, jump, and use my arms! James

    • Wow, James, so glad you’re alright. That’s very scary. Glad you’ve gained from the experience a similar appreciation and sense that life should be lived on our own terms. Try to hold onto that. It’s easy to forget about the accident, but I recall it from time and time and feel grateful to be alive. All the best to you and take care. Stop back here again sometime if you like.


  • J

    Interesting article. I almost broke my neck in September by hitting a mountain at a high rate of speed. Concussion, broken shoulder, strained neck muscles. Trauma center, Helicopter evacuation, 6 CT scans – Head, Cervical Spine, Pelvis, Thorax, Lumbar Spine and one other . . . You are correct in stating that you really do not want to be the center of that much intense medical attention. However, when you need it, it is nice to have.

    Two days later I was standing in the shower thanking God, fate, ancestors, that I could stand, and walk, and feel the pain in my shoulder. Everything that troubled me was quite insignificant, I was alive and complete! I find I am having a hard time holding on to that feeling of contentment. It frustrates me that it fades in and out and I allow the day to day crap to intrude. Maybe it’s post concussion syndrome anxiety and depression. Occasionally I can get it back though.

    Your story helped me to remember it. Thanks

    • J,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry that happened to you, and yes, being the center of all of that medical attention is… frightening.

      I can relate so closely to your strong feelings of contentment after the accident, as well as with your difficulty in holding onto those feelings. I try to remember and reflect on the accident from time to time, but inevitably, the mind forgets and finds new things to become hung up on. It seems to be the inevitable cycle of thought. We can’t always feel lucky, content, and grateful. I’m glad my story helped you to remember that feeling. Here’s to enjoying our time while we still have some. Thanks for the comment and take care.


  • lorelei mortenson

    Thank god your ok jason….. obviously the fact that you went to the hospital right after injury means you were in much pain….. I broke my arm once and every move was excruciating if anyone even tapped my arm I screamed and cried….. very painful and scary….. the neck would be much more painful because of nerves and muscles spinal cord….. I know people say they broke there neck and had no pain but that’s ridiculous and impossible they must have been drunk or on heavy meds to not feel lots of pain its bs….. if you breask a bone anywhere in your body you would know it…..

    • Lorelei,

      Thank you for the comment. I truly am lucky to be okay. Honestly I must have been lucky because it did not really hurt to break my neck. I’m not sure why that is. Take care.

  • Shantala Wakelam

    my dad was in a similar situation. he was skiing (has been for 25 years) and went of the edge and started somersaulting, after about the second somersault he hit his neck on a tree stump and had immense pain down his right arm, like you he could move his arms and his legs and therefore he thought that he had whiplash and a possible broken arm. he skied down the rest of the mountain and then walked into hospital to get it checked out just in case. turns out he had fractured two of the vertebrae in his neck. they transferred him to a larger hospital which he claimed to be a horrible experience as he could not move. when he got there they did more scans and found that he had an unstable fracture which if left could severe his spinal chord. they had to operate and put a plate in his neck but also take bone from his hip to replace the discs that had been crushed between the vertebrae.
    your story and his reminded me how short life is and how things that we are so used to can actually be so dangerous

    • Shantala,

      Wow, your dad’s story is terrifying and made me shiver. I’m so glad he ended up being okay. Comments like yours allow me to revisit my experience and to remember how fortunate I am to be alive. Thank you. All the best to you and your family.

  • Jess

    Similar incident here (except I was intoxicated on a golf cart after a wedding). You are super lucky. I had to be shipped to Indianapolis to have three surgeries, and had to be in the brace for four months. Finally skiing and climbing again after a year. I had to switch over from snowboarding, and have to be really careful about the big solo and ice climbs I loved to do (I’m a CO native as well 🙂 ). The neurosurgeon at CO Brian and Spine said the whiplash was too big of a risk and paralysis is still not out of the cards for me. I had to quit working for two months. Switch jobs. Buy a shower chair. It’s been a major life adjustment, but not as much as it could have been!

    • wow, Jess, so sorry to hear that’s happened to you. i am unbelievably lucky, and i thank the gracious stars every time i recall the accident. i also shudder a bit. so scary. i’m glad things weren’t worse for you. thoughts and prayers for continued wellness. peace

  • Emma

    This was actually really interesting for me to read. during the Summer of 2014 I broke my neck as well! I fell off a horse and when I went to the doctor, I was told I had whiplash which I most definitely did not. The next week I rode the same horse and once again, I fell off (I’m actually a very experienced rider, I was having trouble with a horse). I went to see another doctor and he told me I had a minor fracture and sent me to get CT scan for a closer look in an Emergency Room. Just like what happened to you, the atmosphere shifted dramatically. I went to sit up, but the technician told me to stay lying down. She called for help and my mom and brother came in along with multiple surgeons and nurses. I was not allowed to move my head, I was not allowed to sit up, I was not allowed to stand up. I was lifted out of the machine and into a gurney and pushed into the ER. I was about to be ambulanced over to a hospital nearby for surgery, but they finally caught hold of my surgeon and he told them he had already seen the fracture and it was no big deal. Lots happened but I ended up staying in the hospital for five days after spinal fusion surgery of my C1-C3 which left me with three months of physical therapy along with four months in a brace all while trying to get through high school. I am extremely lucky. Being a teenager girl with a neck brace in high school is absolutely horrible and I know I was made fun of. Honestly, I don’t care. I could have been killed, I could have become a quadriplegic, I could have had a more serious spinal cord injury, I was so so so so so lucky. I didn’t understand that until my last few days of physical therapy when I was finally asked what happened to me. My physical therapist told me I was a miracle. I actually feel like I’m lucky to have gone through this experience. I went through a horrible seven month and still counting healing process, and I can hardly turn my head 45 degrees in each direction, but I’m alive (plus I have an awesome scar).

  • Joey

    Well Jordan Bates its 3:17am in New York and I stumbled across your page reading about your neck injury simply because I wanted to make myself feel better reading about how other peoples lives got affected as while. But i read your story and its not always about me because you ended up in a way luckier then me, so I made an account thinking I could share my story elsewhere but in this caption section is just fine. Then again frankly in a way Im more lucky then you, and we all know how lucky you are to have minimal damage. Emma in the comments below may be more lucky then me regarding where in her neck she was hurt. But i’m sharing this not only because everyone else forgot about me in this collar and pain only after a few weeks but to show you how my injury should make you feel more blessed. Keep in mind i’m young, just 18 years old. On May 3rd 2015 at Approx. 1:15pm I was in a motorcycle accident. This day changed me forever. Im out in LI, NY riding dirt bikes with some buddies. I race the real deal full race machines, $7,000 motorcycles. Railing the track out on this breezy day. I kid you not, something told me not to go many times but i resisted cause i feel this feeling often when going out to ride. Sure i’ve broken bones before but only 1 in my left thumb while riding. (Bare with me here this is hard to explain). I go over this jump which is called a “double double”. Its 4 separate mounds of dirt spaced apart in an orderly fashion, its no easy task. I shoot over the first mound in expectancy to come down in just the right rhythm for the second mound of dirt. My rear tire caught the 2nd mound and sent my body like a human puppet into the third mound. My hands hit first and then my head, instantly paralyzing my entire body. Now I lay on this cold dirt incapable of moving. Within seconds many people around me panicking. I didn’t even remember/know what was happening. A combination of my ego, my shock, and my desperation to move I got up with help and stumbled off the track. Convincing myself i was okay and yet i had no pain but simply could not preform any actions. I was telling my arm to move and it wouldn’t. We didn’t know what to do. I had people take off my gear and load my bike and at this point we need to go to the ER. I have a friend drive me not to the closet hospital to the motocross park but to one 45 mins away near my home. We arrive and i’m rushed in after they realize i was paralyzed. Multiple Iv’s in my arm and hands i couldn’t even feel them go in. My friends are too scared to see me. I have a Cat Scan Mri and 10rays in less then 2 hours. I cut every line. The scans revealed my C4 C5 C6 vertebrae were brutally damaged and I would need emergency surgery to have a spinal fusion. At this point its sometime around 6 or something Sunday night and i’m shot. They already have me doped up next thing i know i wakeup monday night approx. 9pm with 6 screws and 3 metal rods in the back on my neck. The pain was unbelievable. They had me on dilordon, a drug so great i was falling asleep in an upright chair talking to my friends and eating. For 9 days In the hospital it was made clear, the worst 9 days of my life. The struggle and the pain after the 3rd day when they took me off dilordon because i would become addicted I could barley walk. Many times i had heat flashes, sweating and i almost forgot to mention a catheter and a tube in the back of my neck which when was removed was fucking horrifically painful. the worst was the IV change. not the needle but that dam tape they use felt like they were ripping my body in two. I never had any sleep of course. Time had never gone so slow. I made friends with the 85 year old man next to me and we talked cause thats all i really had for a long time. I left the hospital to come home and spend a lot of time just resting in bed and playing the ole xbox which i hadn’t playing in a long time. Its now June 28th. Exactly 8 weeks since my accident and i’m still in a neck collar. Its very hard for me because i’m home a lot and ive never been used to this. I don’t wish this on anyone. I have regained all movement and feeling throughout my body. I consciously await July 1st for a checkup to see how im doing. Just felt like I had to share this with people. Cause its not an easy thing, and ill never be the same again. We’re both lucky in our own way. Its now 4:19am and someway or another this helped me. Even if you dont read it all.

  • Ian Fitzgerald

    last Saturday I fractured my c5 Virtibra doing a front flip off a 50 ft cliff into deep water… I landed weird didnt think anything of it and drove home with neck and back pain. Later I went to the hospital and got a ct scan and found out I broke a bone in my neck. At least 70% of your story happened to me and its crazy…. I am gonna keep going hard skiing but now im smarter and im gonna work more on smart risk taking! Great Read!

    • shit, man, glad you’re okay. crazy that our stories are so similar. still feel so grateful to be alive every time i think back to this. take care of yourself.

      • Ian Fitzgerald

        Fracture was worse then they thought, I was put in a neck brace and was told I would be in it for 1-2 months….went to my follow up appointment today and found out my c5 Virtibra was healing but collapsing. im now in a rigid collar and theirs a possibility of fusion surgery in a month…Praying im gonna be ok,,,, I guess my winter activity’s are out of the question. Glad I came upon your story

  • Katherine Allen Whyte

    I broke my neck 15 months ago. Car accident, avoiding a turtle, but it could have happened anytime skiing or with any sport.
    C1C2 comminuted fractures and one of the bone pieces was threatening to dissect the vertebral artery which would have killed me or left me with a paralyzing stroke.
    Let alone the risk of quadriplegia or death.
    I’m a doctor. I knew what it meant. But what I didn’t have, or was unable to access,was the hope that everything might end up being ok. Not from my physicians, not from family and friends, and not from the internet. And even though I’m “old” (59 at the time of injury, but a way younger physically and mentally) I was not going to accept that I was going to be permanently disabled, in pain and not able to live the life I was meant to live. I “worked” on my recovery, physically, but much more mentally and I’m just so blessed that I had the medical knowledge and faith to enable this. I now am 90% back to my old self which is just fine with me. And who knows, I may be 110% in 6 months.
    I just want everyone to know, who is suffering similar injuries, that there is hope, you can get better, it’s a long road, but our bodies and our brains (I also suffered as serious head injury with significant cognitive impairment, which I think has been the most challenging and now, is almost back to normal) can recover.
    There are resources out there, just reach out, you can do it and if you empower your body and brain it can happen.
    Even those whose injuries were way more catastrophic. As a doctor, I know, maybe it can’t be fixed, your life as you knew it will never be the same, but you have within you the power to live your life differently under the terms of your new body and brain.
    Take strength, have hope and bless to you all in your recovery journey.

  • Katherine Allen Whyte

    ps Jordan, thanks for sharing.

  • JohnG

    Just this weekend, exactly the same experience. Broke c6 and c7. Still in a brace but no real pain… I was snowboarding in Austria, wasn’t wreckless, just fell wrong I guess..

    I still am wondering how to better protect myself for next year… Don’t want this (or worse) to happen again…

    Do you still ski?


  • Andrea Smith

    I actually broke my neck January 6th…I was playing with my friends daughter and went to do a back handspring on the trampoline, and that is all I remember. After that I was holding my neck as she drove me to the ER. Where I had 2 CT scans…at that time they let me know I fractured my C2, better known as a hangman’s fracture. I was then transported by ambulance to another hospital for an MRI. Hours later, I went home…no surgery needed. I was going to be fine…I still struggle with how I got so lucky. Anyhow, I was on bed rest for 11 days, 38 days in a neckbrace and in currently on my second month of physical therapy. It’s been a journey. And some days I really struggle with all the lessons I’ve learned and still have yet to learn…your article really helped me this evening.