Who said pole vaulters were weenies? Obviously, they haven’t heard about Chip Heuser from the Oklahoma Sooners. Don’t let the fact that he wears a dorky helmet nowadays fool ya, this guy is an animal, cheating death on numerous occasions after taking a 16-foot plunge and landing head first following an errant vault six months ago. We’ll let him explain.
Chip Heuser: Funny thing about it, it was actually Halloween.
Jenni Carlson: No trick, no treat.
CH: Definitely not. I tricked myself into this one. We were doing a drill. It was a drill simulating the vault in the air called rope vaulting. The set-up we have requires an extra mat behind the pit itself just in case you carry too much momentum and overshoot the pit.
So, of course, you probably know what I did. Forgot the mat. Overshot the pit. Landed from about 16 feet in the air directly on my skull. Fractured my occipital bone, had a contrecoup injury, damage to my poles. Was in the ICU about seven days, was released, then had a seizure and was put back in the ICU for another three days.
JC: Oh, geez.
CH: I had some hemorrhaging … but luckily, they didn’t have to operate. If they would’ve operated, I would not be vaulting. I’m forced to wear a helmet now when I jump, but it doesn’t keep me from wanting to jump again. …
JC: After you were released from the hospital, you had a seizure?
CH: I was in the ICU seven days, released, then the next morning after the release, I suffered the seizure and went right back in the hospital. It was bad.
JC: It’s a miracle you’re here.
CH: They lost me once right after the initial impact. Then they lost me twice after the seizure in the ambulance.
JC: You essentially died three times. How do you even process something like that?
CH: The funny thing about it is I don’t recall much.
You should be proud of yourself Chip, not only are you alive, but you made it onto our blog. That’s quite an accomplishment. We haven’t even looked in the general direction of another pole vaulter since we discovered Miss Stokke.
[NewsOK.com]: The Q&A: Chip Heuser: Oklahoma pole vaulter back after 16-foot fall