Sophomore Maddie Humme tackles the road to recovery after a golf cart tumble

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Victoria Neeser

Dribbling the ball down the court, sophomore Maddie Humme looks for an open teammate to make a play. Humme has played basketball since she was in 1st grade and she is now in her junior varsity basketball season. “Basketball is my zen. I’ve always made time for it. When I am on the court, I am solely focused on basketball,” Humme said. “I love being a part of a team and contributing all I have to give.”

Speeding down a hill and with her friend behind the wheel of their golf cart, sophomore Maddie Humme knew she was in for a bumpy ride. The cart flipped and Humme slid 20 feet stopping on hot, hard asphalt. Stuck inside the white and black metal contraption, pain and confusion filled her world as her foot was impaled. The smell of gas filled the air as it leaked, slowly creeping towards Humme’s leg and mixing with the road rash from the accident. She could hear her friend’s voice instructing someone to call an ambulance to take her to the hospital. 

“I had never been hospitalized before, so this was all new to me,” Humme said. “My days were consumed by bandage changes and pain management. Along with forcing myself to eat in order to avoid having a feeding tube again. I was in so much pain medicine, the first week or so was a blur.”

Humme spent two weeks in the hospital. Due to COVID-19, only one person could visit Humme at a time and she could have a maximum of two visitors on her list: her mom and dad. 

“My sister, stepdad and the rest of my friends and family could not visit me,” Humme said. “It was weird only being able to see one parent at a time and not being allowed to have other visitors such as my sister, extended family and friends. Thankfully, I was able to FaceTime my sister often. That was the longest I had ever gone without seeing her.” 

It was difficult for Humme to be so separate from everyone in the hospital while she was trying to recover, but this was not her biggest concern. 

“Being isolated gave me too much time to constantly replay the events that happened the day of the accident. My days were consumed by bandage changes and pain management,” Humme said

During her time in the hospital, Humme’s doctors focused on regaining her ability to walk again. After being released, she began physical therapy. 

“It was tough to come to terms with not being able to properly walk at a normal pace. I was told that moving at a fast pace could cause further injuries which would lengthen my recovery process,” Humme said. “I was very used to doing everything at a fast pace and it was hard to slow down in physical therapy and relearn how to properly walk. Having to slow down during physical therapy caused me to face my limitations.”

In addition to attending physical therapy three times a week, Humme also had follow-up doctor appointments and surgeries, alongside daily at-home exercises.

From this point on, my recovery will continue to be a slow process. It is far from over. This experience changed me in every way possible, and I learned that I was a lot stronger and more resilient than I thought.

— Maddie Humme

“Every time I went to physical therapy it was a constant reminder of all my limitations and kept me wondering if I could ever fully recover,” Humme said. “I am not emotionally healed from the accident and likely will not be for a long time.” 

Humme found physical therapy challenging, both emotionally and physically, and is continuing with her work to heal. 

“Having my physical therapist work with me so closely and examine my injuries made me self-conscious,” Humme said. “Watching my teammates run without me was frustrating. This made me work very hard in physical therapy, in hopes that I would be able to return to sports.” 

After the accident doctors were unsure if Humme would ever return to the athletic activities. 

I was very frustrated and disappointed,” Humme said. “That fueled me to work hard so I could prove them wrong.”

Humme has been cleared and has resumed playing for the girls junior varsity basketball team. While she is a leading scorer on the team, Humme knows she still has healing to do from the accident. 

From this point on, my recovery will continue to be a slow process,” Humme said. “It is far from over. This experience changed me in every way possible, and I learned that I was a lot stronger and more resilient than I thought.” 

While the physical progress is clear, Humme is equally focused on healing emotionally. 

“I need to heal emotionally in numerous ways, some of which I don’t think I even realize yet. I have noticed that I am extremely self-conscious when in public, and I feel like everyone is staring at me even when I have my compression on,” Humme said. “I know that my scars will be with me for the rest of my life, and this is something I still struggle with accepting. The fear of what could happen prevents me from enjoying living in the moment. I am not sure who to trust, and this is a feeling I’m not sure will go away anytime soon.”

Humme took away lessons from this experience that she will use going forward. 

“Anything that we know to be true can change instantly. This experience helped me mature and I learned how one decision can have such a large impact, short and long term, on so many people,” Humme said. “The most important thing I realized is to never take anything for granted.”