My name is Todd Kinsey and I have suffered not one, but two spinal injuries, both the result of cycling crashes. I suffered my first broken back in 2003 when I was hit by a car while out on a training ride. This injury put an end to my triathlon career but I was able to return to competitive cycling.
In 2009 I was involved in two crashes, both of which caused other significant injuries. We’re not sure which crash caused my back injury since symptoms did not appear until February of 2010. Although I was able to return to a very high level of activity, I was never pain free. As an endurance athlete, I was able to endure the pain, until one day, I bent over to move something and was forced to spend the next two weeks in bed.
After visiting my surgeon and getting a new set of x-rays taken, you could visibly see that the top-level of my fusion was damaged, the pedicle screws were stripped, and floating freely. We scheduled surgery thinking we were just revising this problem but when they opened me up, I had broken two more vertebrae.
Now with nearly my entire lower back fused the recovery from this surgery is not going well but at least I am able to walk. As I continue to learn more about spinal injuries the more I realize how fortunate I am. Most people who suffer the injuries I have are usually left paralyzed and I have defied the odds not once but twice.
Like most spinal injury patients, battling the mental aspects of my new circumstance is every bit as difficult as the physical demands. I like to think that my situation is somehow different, however, everyone has their life; so why is mine any different? Because I was an athlete? A father? A husband?
Now faced with a lifetime of debilitating chronic pain and the loss of a significant income, I’m struggling with how to take care of my family and maintain some semblance of a life. My hope is that by sharing my story, connecting with other spinal injury survivors, and creating a dialog we can help each other cope with our new lives.
Thanks for reading,