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A temporary fix

By Joslyn Banta
On August 27, 2021

Photo by Joslyn Banta

April 6, 2021, Ottawa student Sydney Raborn was having a normal team practice that started off just like any other. One of Raborn’s track and field teammates was getting ready in the cage, a safety area for athletes, to throw the hammer (a throwing implement for a field activity). As Raborn was watching her teammate throw, from the safety of behind the cage, the throwing implement busted through a hole in the side of the barrier and hit Raborn on the head. 


A men's hammer is metal and weighs 16 pounds. Therefore when it hit Raborn in the head, she immediately noticed blood gushing down the side of her face. One of Raborn’s teammates called 911, and she was ultimately rushed to the hospital. Many hours later, Raborn was released from the hospital and was diagnosed with a hematoma -- a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues. The doctor also informed her that she would be out for the rest of the season, right before she was supposed to compete in conference. She was also unable to do anything that required physical activity. 


Almost five months later, Raborn vaguely remembers the incident and is still presently dealing with her injury. 


Due to the accident occurring right before the conference tournament that Ottawa University was about to host, the track and field team was forced to have another school host the hammer throwing competitions. 


Raborn says, “The cage was broken during my freshman year and has stayed that way until recently a temporary fix has been made.” 


Ottawa university athletics staff has been notified of the damage of the cage multiple times by the track and field coaching staff, and it took Raborn being injured to get a temporary fix. This temporary fix is hopefully not a permanent one, and is still unsafe for the athletes. The cage has been locked up due to the incident and has not been practiced in this year to make sure this kind of accident does not occur again. 


The track and field team’s end goal would be to get a new throwing cage, but there have been no recent developments. 


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