In the blink of an eye: After summer dirt bike accident, competitive swimmer faces long, difficult recovery period

Jordan Huesers, Features editor

She gouged her bone.
Lost skin on her calf and shin.
Severed her muscle.
She underwent four surgeries and many hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments that locked her body in a glass tube and provided pure oxygen to help her heal.
Hospital stay: 22 days.
In the emergency room the doctors told her she would be lucky if she kept her leg, let alone ever walk again.
Junior Becca Bond rode her first dirt bike on June 6.
Expecting a quick ride with friends, Becca was unprepared for what was about to happen. Luckily, she wore a helmet.
“One second we were all riding along,” Becca said. “The next second, I look up to see the four wheeler in front of us, stopped. I knew at that moment we were going to crash.”
Becca then felt a rush of sheer panic flow through her entire body.
“It was horrible knowing that there was nothing I could do to stop it and help myself,” Becca said. “My friend driving swerved the dirt bike as fast as he could. The next thing I know the dirt bike is out of control and I am being thrown off onto the gravel road.”
She told herself she would only have a few scrapes and a little road rash. She hoped and prayed everything would be fine.
Becca had two large, full thickness flaps of skin hanging off her lower calf exposing all of the muscle and her shin bone. The muffler burned the inside of her right leg. Sliding across the gravel caused burns on both knees and her right elbow.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Becca said. “I felt like I was honestly dreaming. One of the first things that came to my mind was, ‘My parents are going to be so upset.’ But what was really weird was I kept thinking about church that night and how I wasn’t going to be able to go. Now, it seems like no big deal, but at the time that’s mainly what I was thinking about.”
In a state of shock, Becca started grabbing the two flaps of skin, placing them over where they would be if they were still connected. She then pushed on them to add pressure.
“When I reached for my leg, I didn’t have any feelings,” she said. “I am usually the one who gets grossed out and passes out when I am around blood. But this time I was completely calm. In any other situation I wouldn’t have known what to do. But all of the sudden, my instincts kicked in and I did what I could.”
Her friends called for an ambulance and tried to comfort her.
“It was really scary seeing her fall off the bike,” junior Meredith Schmidt said. “I was scared her leg wouldn’t heal right or it was going to be a lot more serious than we thought. At the time it was just scary not knowing anything about how badly she was hurt.”
When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics laid Becca down and quickly began to wrap her leg.
“I can actually remember looking up at the emergency people helping me and seeing bugs on their shoulders and heads,” she said. “I would tell them each time a bug landed on them and they would swat it off. I think it was my way of taking my mind off things.”
Every day Becca received multiple cards and gifts from people, some of them she had never even met. The encouragement from her family, friends, nurses and doctors helped Becca remain optimistic.
“Basically I was thinking about all the things that could have happened to me,” Becca said. “I didn’t know if I would ever walk again or even keep my leg. I just knew being negative would increase the chances for bad things to happen.”
Worried and in denial, Becca’s mom, Debbie Bond, prayed for God to take care of her daughter.
“We were shocked,” she said. “However, we tried to stay positive, and we knew she was in the best place she could possibly be.”
Debbie said Becca’s strong faith guided and strengthened her to complete the tasks needed to walk again.
“Amazingly, I have learned more from her in her grace through this,” Debbie said. “Doctors even told us her recovery was because of her determination. When the doctors told her something needed to be done, she did it.”
Becca, a state qualifier and a member of an elite program for swimming, said she will have to put her training on hold until her wound completely heals.
“I will have to work very hard to get back to where I was in swimming before the wreck,” she said.
Becca recently underwent a skin graft operation which should be her last surgery for her leg. Once the graft heals completely around the edges, she should be able to get back into the water. So far, her recovery has been successful.
“The doctors say that because I’m a young, healthy person, the healing is faster than it would be for an average person,” she said.
Becca is currently recovering from the accident by doing physical therapy to regain strength not only in her leg, but in her whole body because she was not able to move for a long period of time.
“She will be a better person because of this,” Debbie said. “We will all be better people.”