Five years ago while playing soccer DJ Bray was seriously injured. He thought it was nothing at first; he’d been kneed in the thigh. ”It felt like a charley horse and maybe I’d have a bad bruise but nothing worth going to the doctor over” DJ says. About 12 hours later he woke in the middle of the night to severe pain in his right thigh, which was now twice its normal size and hard as a rock. DJ decided it was time to wake his roommates and go to the emergency room.
When he arrived at the hospital the ER nurse told him it was either nothing or something very rare and serious. It turned out to be the latter and DJ was rushed into emergency surgery for a condition called acute compartment syndrome. This happens when the tissue sack around a muscle doesn’t break after sustaining trauma. The broken tissue sack is what allows for bruising after an injury. When the sack doesn’t break the blood pools inside the sack putting pressure on the muscle and eventually cutting off circulation. This is what happened to DJ’s leg and it was killing the muscle.
Over a 5 day period DJ needed 4 surgeries to repair the damage. After his 2nd surgery he needed 4 units of blood because he’d lost so much. DJ ended up spending a week in the hospital, 2 months in a wheelchair and another 3 months in physical therapy. Thankfully now he’s as good as new, except for a large scar on his right thigh.
DJ is grateful to the blood donors who helped him. “I’m just happy to give back because I know someone out there helped me get the blood I needed” said DJ after his first blood donation. DJ plans to continue helping to save lives through blood donation and hopes that others will do the same after hearing his story.