Just imagine the following situation:
You’re lying in hospital and you already had several operations to save your leg. After that I should only undergo one more surgery. You wake up post-surgery, looking down your bed sheet and your worst imagination becomes true: your leg was beyond remedy!
It was Monday September 24, 2001 – I think sometime around noon. I wake up and I only have one leg left. My world collapses. All meine Träume sind zunichte gemacht worden. All my dreams are destroyed. Up to that day, I was a true sports-fanatic and I only wanted to become one thing: a good soccer player!
Finally, I got a chance and was allowed to practice with the team of Fortuna Cologne (at that time still third division) on September 11, 2001. After that practice is was fixed: I will switch to Fortuna Cologne! My life was perfect! Now I wanted to become a soccer player with the opportunity to practice every day.
My main place of residence should be shifted to Cologne now. In summer, I applied to the German physical education college in Cologne – and was accepted. My life only had reference to sport! My dream! On Tuesday, September 11 I got the positive answer from the soccer club Fortuna Cologne.
But on September 15, 2001 it happenend. It ist he last match for my present club, VfR Grünstadt. On one side I was entirely happy that I will soon become a player in the third division. But on the other side it hurt to leave behind my teammates and my coach who advanced me a lot.
We played against the team of Niederauerbach. It happened shortly after the half-time break. Someone squared a long ball to me, I sprinted after the ball into the eighteen-yard area.
When I realized that the ball is out of reach and the goalkeeper is faster, I tried to hop over him – but he wouldn’t let me!
He hit me directly with his outstreched leg and at full tilt on my knee. I will never forget his looks!
If he did that on purpose or not, only he knows – and me. Whoever judges his behavior in retrospect can also form an opinion. Today I don’t think about that any more.
The ambulance was phoned immediately and as early as that, the first mistakes were made. In my knee, everything was broken what could possible break. My foot was pulseless. This fact was not considered by the paramedic, otherwise he absolutely had to call a doctor. (Due to my qualification as an ambulance man I can give an pofessional opinion on that.) First of all I was brought to the hospital in Grünstadt.
There, they diagnosed the severe injury – compartment syndrome! This means that from the knee down nothing was supplied with blood.
This injury has (!) to be operated within 6 (!) hours. If not, the whole tissue will mortify, the leg is not savable and needs to be amputated. In Grünstadt, there was no vascular surgeon available (it was Saturday evening).
Then they brought me to Kaiserslautern. But not with an emergency rescue helicopter to make it fast, but with an ambulance.
The ambulance service took one hour. In Kaiserslautern they just ignored me with the explanation that the operating room is occupied due to an emergency case.
And what was I?!?
After two hours they told my father that it would be better to bring me to the university hospital in Homburg – maybe there will be a vascular surgeon available. The „cheerful“ drive went on to Homburg where I was hospitalized around 11 p.m., but eventually I underwent surgery at 1 a.m..
Until today I do not know, if I was really operated by a vascular surgeon. At around 3:45 p.m. the goalkeeper hit me and at 1 a.m. I underwent surgery – much too late to save my leg. This is the way how I lost my leg! After one week in Homburg I changed the hospital and was hospitalized in Mainz because I realized that the doctors in Homburg were unable to cope with my situation.
Of course, they would never admit this. In Mainz, the doctors gave their best and they cared about me. But after one week, the leg was necrotic from the knee down and the only hard step that remained for them was the amputation.