Oberlin Blogs

Community Strength

April 26, 2020

Tim Martin ’22

There will be times when life hits you hard, and you will be struggling to get back on your feet. When this happens, you need a community around you that will support you through your struggle. Below is a story about life, literally, hitting me hard and my Oberlin community helping me back on my feet. 

I tore my kidney open freshman year. It happened during a football game when I caught a screen pass and was hit immediately. The pain kept me on the ground and soon I was on my way to the hospital. Luckily, my family was at the game and was able to take me to the hospital. I thought I was going to go back to my dorm that night. I thought it was just a minor bruise to the kidney and, after a few tests, I would be able to leave and even take my little brother to the movies. When the results came back I was informed my kidney was torn open near an artery and I needed to be taken to the trauma unit of the hospital downtown immediately. I had so much fear in my body. I cried as they put me in the ambulance. I thought this was going to be the day I died. I remember the ambulance zooming to the hospital, the entire time my Mom asking them to drive even faster. 

When I finally reached the hospital I was stuck in a hallway for quite a bit of time. Apparently, the hospital was back jammed and struggling to clean up rooms for patients. Eventually, a nurse ended up yelling at people that they needed to get me a room and that she would clean the room herself to make it happen. They ran tests on my kidney, and luckily the tear in my kidney missed the artery by an inch. This meant I did not have to get surgery. Oberlin’s athletic trainer for the football team stayed by my side for the first 24 hours and visited me constantly in the hospital. My football coaches came and saw me multiple times, even bringing me things from my dorm that I wanted. I received countless texts from my teammates and friends asking me how I was doing and telling me if I needed anything just let them know. The constant support from my family and the Oberlin community lifted my spirits those days I was in the hospital. 

After about four or five days I was released from the hospital. To tell you the truth, I could barely walk. The days prior to that I could not walk at all without assistance, and even then I was on strong pain medication. I was worried about a lot of things when I got back to campus. How would I go to my doctor’s appointments? What am I going to do about school while I’m in this condition? As it turned out I had nothing to worry about. The same athletic trainer that stayed with me while I was in the hospital took me to all of my doctor’s appointments. My professors were also very flexible about the deadlines on assignments and helped me get back in the flow of things. 

Having spent multiple days in the hospital on many pain medications and having ridden in an ambulance, I was very concerned about the medical bills. I was worried that the thousands of dollars in medical bills would be a strain on my family. Right, when I had these worries, Oberlin stepped up again. I had two insurances from Oberlin, one a regular insurance and the other a sports insurance. Between these two insurances, almost all of the costs were covered.

My sophomore year I returned to the football field and got through the season injury-free. I remember after the last game this year I thought about what a blessing it is to have my health. In the darkest of times, communities show their true colors. Oberlin showed me the endless support they have for their students and that they will do everything in their power to take care of them. Oberlin isn’t just a college, it is a family.

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