Tuukka Korhonen, rather rubber legged ledge, manual and flatground wizard, recently took a hefty slam at a downhill race out of all places – one that he didn't even enter. To make things even worse the doctor's visit following the incident at Helsinki's Koffin Vauhtikisat turned into a 31 day hospital stay… here is his story:
Tuukka, could you please give us a bit of background on the whole race thing first?
My Canadian expatriate friend Marcus Marcoux has been involved in organising these downhill events back home in Quebec and now he is living in Helsinki and wanted to do the same sort of thing here.
How the fuck did someone like Pat Duffy show up there?
Pat has a Finnish wife and they have 2 (or more?) kids together so you can see him around here every now and then. I guess he liked the idea of good ole hill bomb and decided to join.
So you didn’t even enter and still managed to get worked? How did it happen?
No, I didn’t enter. Our SLP homies had their video premiere the night before and it was a big one. I decided it was safer to leave my board at home the next day and just enjoy the event. Anyway, I was walking down the hill to look out for any civilians who might walk in front of the homies cruising down.. I was just crossing the “racetrack" and didn’t notice a friend of mine coming down the hill full speed. We both tried to dodge each other but ended up going to the same direction. His hip hit my left thigh real hard when we smashed into each other. It was definitely my fault for stumbling on to the track like that.
»His hip hit my left thigh real hard. It was definitely my fault for stumbling on to the track like that«
What happened after? On footage it seems you’re getting up ok, but it turned out you had to go to the hospital?
At first I thought nothing of it and on the footage you can see me getting up and helping the others carry the big bin further away. I stayed down there as a lookout for a while longer before taking a seat and watching the race. About an hour later I stood up to take a piss and realised that my thigh was pretty sore and walking was painful. Then I decided to jump in a taxi and go home to put some ice on it and lift the leg up.
I was adamant that it was just a “puujalka" (wooden leg, as we call it) and that I would be back on my board the next day, since the annual Wamma race was gonna be on the next day.
Well, the ice and painkillers didn't really help and the leg kept on swelling and the pain kept getting worse so the next morning I had to go to the hospital. First I needed to go to this hospital where they decide if I should see another doctor or if it’s nothing serious. They took some X rays but there was nothing broken. From there they sent me to the orthopedic hospital where I then stayed for the next 31 days…
»From there they sent me to the orthopedic hospital – where I then stayed for the next 31 days…«
Turned out that there was internal bleeding between the muscle and the muscle membrane and the muscle itself was really swollen. They kept me under heavy painkillers for a few days hoping that the swelling would go down on its own. When this didn’t happen, they basically had to open the whole thigh from my knee down to my hip because the next stage would have been gangrene and possibly even amputation of the leg. This operation was called fasciotomy, if you google that up you’ll get the idea.
At this point, the thigh was cut open and the swollen muscle literally hanging out. It was an open wound and they would wash it and change the bandages daily. After that they used this special device (Vacuum Assisted Closure) that would help get the swelling down towards the day that they could actually stitch that wound shut. Of course, at this point the wound was way too big to close just with stitches so they had to take a skin-graft from my right thigh to close it. This of course added another week and a half to my stay at the hospital.
All in all, everything went well in the end and I was never in any real danger, except the danger of boring myself to death. The whole process just took a damn long time. Thanks to everyone who visited me during that time, even though I might have been a bit out of it due to the heavy medication!
»They basically had to open the whole thigh from my knee down to my hip«
How are you doing today? Everything back to normal?
I’m good, I’ve been going skating once or twice a week, waiting for the spring to arrive here in Helsinki so I can skate more often. For now, just hitting the indoor skatepark or the indoor parking lots in the city center. Leg is starting to feel pretty good, kind of scared of skating full on just yet but at least I got a few more weeks before we can hit the streets again.
Other than that, the leg is doing fine and I don’t really even notice it anymore. I have to use these tight pants that are sort of like weird long johns and use this elastic patch that heals the wound. I have one more visit with a physiotherapist but this one is just a check up basically. Oh yeah, can’t use speedos for the next year or so when I’m hitting the beach because the skin on my thighs would burn too easily… too bad!
Pretty happy that I got off fairly easy in the end, could have been way worse and I hope that at least I saved my friend from hitting that huge bin full blast.
»Oh yeah, can’t use speedos for the next year or so when I’m hitting the beach because the skin on my thighs would burn too easily… too bad!«