Ozzie Ausband

Black wind blowing.

August 1979. I was riding Cherry Hill Skatepark, my halfpipe and other stuff on a regular basis. Jim Howell & I rode together daily. We were learning exponentially. We were smoking weed & skating hard…it was good. I was going into the house for lunch on a Sunday afternoon & I walked by the basketball rim beside the garage. My dad had lowered the rim to approximately 6 feet in height. You see, I had a younger brother who was into basketball. I just jumped up and acted like I was slam- dunking a ball. My hand slid down the rim & fell between the V-shaped bracket underneath.

My full weight came down & I found myself screaming in agony as I hung there by my wrist. A fountain of gore sprayed my face, as the artery was cut. Rivulets of hot blood ran down my arm & into my shirt & shorts. I hung there, swinging grotesquely…every movement taking me further into unconsciousness. An eternity went by. My mouth shrieked & gnashed. I found myself whimpering. Finally, I felt myself lifted. Strong hands pulled me close & my arm was wrapped in towels. I looked at the sky & a black wind blew across my face. I smelled grass…freshly cut. For reasons unknown to me, I thought of Mike Folmer & green Sims Snakes wheels. I yelled at every footstep…bolts of pain, pounding across my mind. I squirmed like a bug under a black boot.

I lost track of time. Blood erupted around the towels & ran into the cassette tape case on the floor of the van-filling it- as my dad drove to the hospital. I remember crying & repeating a word like a mantra…“Hurts.” We drove like the devils henchmen were at our heels. We drove on the wrong side of the road…my dad & me; bloody, savage, crying. I had cut my right hand -virtually- off. I cut the radial artery, veins,  radial nerve & tendons. It would be a long haul.

A doctor named Eric Blomain, was a hand surgeon at Hershey Medical Center that day. He sewed me up & reconnected everything. I was skating in a splint within 7 months. To this day, I still cannot make the ‘thumbs up’ gesture very well…but I can do inverts. Thanks to my dad for saving my life (I lost a ton of blood), Dr. Eric Blomain, & Mike Folmer for getting me through it all. Thanks to Jim Goodrich for the image & inspiration to write about this horrible memory. Skate-Ozzie