Grant Berry charged into the key, jumping to pass the basketball to his open teammate when suddenly a La Grande player stepped in front of him.
Grant’s feet left the ground and he fell hard on his right arm.
He immediately tried to sit up — that’s when the La Grande High School student section saw his arm and gasped.
“They were horrified, obviously,” Grant, 18, says of that game on Jan. 27.
Grant’s arm, says his mom, Megan, was bent in such a way it more resembled a candy cane than a forearm.
Grant didn’t realize, at first, what had happened.
“I felt a pain in my arm,” he says. “Then I looked down and saw the bone sticking out. The full pain didn’t hit me until I looked at it -— my arm’s not supposed to bend that way.”
His basketball season, the last for Grant at Baker High School, was over.
When everyone realized what had happened, Grant’s dad, Shawn, immediately headed to the floor, followed by his mom.
“I sat in shock for 10 or 20 seconds,” Megan says.
Grant managed to walk off the court on his own. He was met in the hallway by Dr. Benjamin Olson, who specializes in orthopedics at the Grande Ronde Ortho Clinic who happened to be in the bleachers that night.
“It was the first game he made all season,” Megan says of the doctor. “By the time Grant was in the hallway, (Olson) was out there consulting.”
An ambulance took Grant to Grande Ronde Hospital, where an X-ray revealed he’d snapped both bones in his forearm, the radius and ulna. One went into the muscle, and the other pierced muscle and out through the skin.
Grant has played basketball and football since he was old enough for YMCA sports, about age 6. This was his first serious injury.
“Nothing has kept me from playing a sport,” he says.
“We joke that he saved it all up,” Megan says.
Grant’s surgery, done soon after he was admitted to the hospital, lasted nearly three hours and involved securing the bones with titanium plates and screws.
“It was probably the worst night of my life,” Grant says.
His right arm now sports two parallel 7-inch scars, plus dots from the rows of staples.
“He said several times he was thankful for modern medicine,” Megan says. “He’s been a trouper.”
Following surgery, Grant’s arm was in a soft cast for about a week, then a sling for about three more weeks so friends didn’t accidently bump into his healing arm.
Pain medication kept him home — and sleeping — for most of the first week, and then he slowly started back to classes.
Grant is right-handed, and did his best to take notes with his left hand.
“My writing wasn’t the greatest to begin with, much less with my left hand,” he says with a smile.
As his arm healed, people sent cards and brought food, and his teammates showed up with a poster and his favorite treats — peach rings candy and soda.
“I think it was so public and so sudden, people just wanted to help, which was so sweet,” Megan says.
La Grande players and fans even reached out to him.
“They were pretty respectful,” Grant says of the night it happened. “And I got a lot of messages from the students.”
See more in the March 1, 2017, issue of the Baker City Herald.