A man who broke both legs bouncing on a trampoline had to undergo three surgeries to walk again.
Robert Harrison, 38, was playing with his children on the trampoline when he felt two ‘excruciating pops’ in his knees as he attempted a forward flip – rupturing his tendons in both knees.
After losing all feeling in his lower extremities, Robert thought he was paralyzed and couldn’t look down – fearing his bones were protruding from his legs.
Paramedics quickly arrived on the scene and Robert initially thought he had dislocated his legs, even asking the paramedics to put them back in place so he could get to work.
Robert was informed upon arrival at Kaiser Permanente Roseville Hospital, California, USA that he had ruptured both tendons in his knees and would require immediate surgery.
The father-of-four then spent six weeks with his legs in straight braces and in a wheelchair, making life “extremely difficult” and leaving him feeling “helpless”.
Over the six weeks, Robert regained some mobility in his legs and was able to walk with the straight leg braces in August 2021.
However, after tripping and falling on a pavement, the staples in his leg opened and he was rushed to hospital where he had to wait over 24 hours for surgery to close his leg. .
After a few more setbacks and another surgery to get his kneecaps back to where they’re supposed to sit, Robert’s legs are fully healed, but he’s still struggling to walk.
Despite this, Robert has lost 100 pounds from the 300 pounds he weighed at the time of the accident on July 31, 2021.
Robert also revealed he was drinking that day and vowed to quit – and is expected to hit a year of sobriety on December 17.
Robert, a corporate security supervisor, who lives in Folsom, California, USA, with his wife, Jessica Harrison, 37, a marketing manager, said: “I felt completely helpless – I suffered a lot mentally.
“Daily activities became very difficult and terrifying after the injury.
“I remember I was playing with the kids and we had just bought the trampoline.
“I decided to have fun on it and wanted to go viral with some flips.
“Next thing I know I felt two excruciating pops and I couldn’t feel my legs. Everything went numb. I thought I was paralyzed.
“I didn’t even want to look down because I thought my bones might stick out of my legs.
“When I arrived at the hospital they told me that I had both tendons torn and that I would need surgery.
“They said they had never seen this before.
“I realized that your life can change instantly and you have to be ready for anything.
“That’s what motivated me to be better than before.
“I was not in very good health during the accident because I weighed 300 pounds.
“Now I’ve lost 100 pounds and quit alcohol.
“The greatest gift I can give my family is a sober father and husband.”
After his operation, Robert spent six weeks with braces, unable to bend his knees and fearing re-injury.
“I was using a wheelchair and a walker and life was extremely difficult,” he said.
“I had to crawl up the stairs with straight legs, I had to use the bathroom that way, I had to sleep with my legs in the straight braces.
“I was so scared of falling and hurting myself again.”
However, after making steady progress, Robert suffered a setback.
His leg split open after tripping on a curb and he ended up in hospital for further surgery.
He said: “They told me I hadn’t re-ruptured the tendon, but they had to close me up.
“I waited over 24 hours for the operation and my leg was wide open the whole time.
“They had to put the staples back on, then I was back in the straight suspenders.”
Unfortunately, progress has been slow since his second surgery and Robert returned to the hospital for an MRI.
The MRI revealed that her kneecap had stretched and her kneecaps were sitting at the bottom of her quadriceps muscle – requiring another procedure to fix it.
Despite a successful operation, Robert admits he is still struggling with the pain.
“My kneecaps are still higher than normal and I can’t build leg muscles without excruciating pain,” he said.
“Everything is completely healed but the mental struggle is difficult because I’m afraid of falling back.
“The biggest hurdle now is walking normally. I had to learn to walk again.”
Robert says not being able to play with his children has “destroyed” him.
He says he can no longer play games with his four children – two boys, aged 12 and 8, and two girls, aged 5 and 1.
“It’s something I don’t talk about a lot,” Robert said.
“It destroys me inside. I love running with my kids and I just can’t do those things and haven’t been able to since the accident.
“That’s probably what hurts me the most.”
Despite everything he’s been through, Robert also decided to use the accident as motivation to improve.
He admits that he was not in better health before the accident and now he wants to be better than before.
Robert said: “I was no healthier when the accident happened as I was 300 pounds.
“But now I’ve lost 100 pounds.
“It started with losing weight and then trying to exercise as much as possible.
“I want my legs to be like a horse. It made me realize how important legs are.
“My goal is to take charge of my health so I can live longer and be with my family.”
Robert also decided to give up alcohol and has now gone almost an entire year without alcohol.
“On the day of the accident, I was also drinking alcohol, which I also gave up,” he said.
“December 17th is a year of sobriety. I like to be sober.
“I had to be honest with myself and get rid of alcohol.”
Robert’s message to others is not to wait and act before it is too late.
He said: “If people want to learn from me, you have to take charge of your health before something bad happens.
“In my situation, this incident changed my life.
“And that probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been drinking.
“Your life can change instantly.”