I am an American with a football injury that lasted for fifteen years, physically, and it will remain unforgettable. Many Americans, some of them former professional football players, are having second thoughts about letting their children play football, and I don’t blame them.

            But that second sentence is diversionary, off topic.

            My football injury was to the ball of my foot. I was not playing football, but walking along a street wearing a new pair of heavy-duty, thick-soled running shoes. Ellen was walking with me as we waited for a mechanic to finish work on my son’s balky car the evening before his driver’s license test the next morning. We wanted to be sure he had a fair test without his car dying in the middle of the road test.

            A short distance from the garage near downtown Champaign, Illinois, we walked along a shaded street near the auto repair shop. I stepped on a sharp stone lying on the concrete sidewalk. As I walked over the stone, I felt a sharp pain in the ball of my right foot. The stone was over an inch thick at its tip. The pain did not stop.

            For several days, maybe weeks, I walked with a slight limp due to the constant pain when I was standing. It did not take long before I saw a doctor about my “football injury.” Saying that made me sound like a jock, which I am not. But it was better to laugh about it, and to claim, rightly, that I had a foot ball injury. Listeners could not see the space between “foot” and “ball” so that I could fake people out for a while. Explaining what really happened produced a lot of laughs over the years.

            Several visits to podiatrists and orthopedic specialists, over a period of years, led to my wearing custom orthotics and other padded insoles in all my shoes. Their diagnosis was that I had injured the front of the metatarsal bone where my second toe connects to the ball of the foot. Officially the condition is called metatarsalgia. Every step irritated it, making it extremely slow to heal.


Image of selected bones of the foot. My injury was where the circle is. (Source)

Image of selected bones of the foot. My injury was where the circle is. (Source.)


            Long story short, the pain diminished gradually, and as I said it took about fifteen years before I noticed that the old injury did not hurt anymore. My son nearly doubled his age while the pain lasted.

            I still like to tell people about my old football injury. It still produces laughs. I’ll do just about anything for a laugh.