She could see the finish line and feel the weight of that gold medal around her neck. The cheering from the stands echoed in her ears. She was sprinting faster than she ever had before and she was determined to leave it all on the track. Just as she was rounding the last corner, Gracie’s knees buckled, resulting in her tumbling to a harsh stop. The world around her began to spin and become cloudy as the voices seemed to be getting farther away and the sunlight faded to black.
She could feel the cool water from the recovery tent wash over her face and the hands of the medic around her wrist, probably checking for a pulse. “Hey ma’am, are you okay?” asked the quiet voice that grew louder in that moment. Gracie was willing herself to open her eyes as her brain was pleading with her to keep them closed. Her brain was right. When she opened her eyes, the light blinded her and she found herself with a piercing headache. Gracie tried to sit herself up from a horizontal position on the concrete but was forced to lay back down by what felt like a thousand hands touching her shoulders and leading her to the ground. “Easy there, you took a pretty nasty spill,” the same voice said as she felt a rush of wind from the runners that were passing her by.
Gracie turned her gaze away from the race and towards the swarm of spectators that surrounded her. She knew that she must’ve put on quite the show as she could feel her face getting as red as a tomato. She looked away from the people and into the eyes of the man that was tending to her injuries. She said, “I’m sure that was really funny, but also very embarrassing and I can confidently say that I’m glad I passed out… if you know what I mean?” In an effort to make a joke out of tripping over herself, the motion of laughter made her muscles ache and her head pound.
The medic laughed as he said, “I really needed a laugh today, I’m just sorry it was at your expense.” Gracie began to blush, still embarrassed that an experienced athlete like herself would fall as hard as she did. He finished placing his last bandage on her palm and handed a cold pack to Gracie for her head. “Alright, I just have to fill out a little paperwork and then I can let you go… you know, legal stuff. I won’t take you to the hospital but I suggest that you go to make sure that you know the full extent of your injuries,” he said.
“Yeah, alright. Can I stand up yet?” Gracie asked.
“Not sure if you should-” the medic answered.
She didn’t mind what he was saying and she tried to stand up regardless. Once she got her footing, the world around her began to spin again. “Uh oh…” Gracie mumbled. She was down again but the medic was there to catch her this time.
“Stevens,” he said to his partner, “let’s transport this one.”
Gracie woke up in the back of the ambulance rig a few minutes later. She looked towards the medic in search of some answers as to why she was in the ambulance. “You were pretty eager to do things on your own back there. You passed out again because you stood up too quickly. This will be a quick fix because you were just light headed, but we’re going to the hospital just to double check that you’re all good to go home.”
“Shoot… I really just wanted to walk out of there like a champ,” Gracie said jokingly.
“Yeah, no more standing for you today,” the medic joked back.