Ashlee Ginn TestimonialAshlee Ginn Testimonial At the end of school last year (8th grade), I was involved in a terrible accident and had my face smashed in. Yep, I was just sitting near the football field during lunch talking with some friends and, out of nowhere, a football was flying towards me. I reached up to grab it and, “Bam,” I was on the ground writhing in pain. I didn’t know what hit me! I later learned it was a boy’s knee as he leapt for the football.
Me and my facemask His knee hit my face so hard it crushed all the bones in and around my eye and cheek on the right side of my face. The reconstructive surgery was successful, but I now have three titanium plates and 25 screws in my cheek as well as a piece of mesh fabric supporting my eye ball (the basement of my eye socket was shattered). To top it off, I was left with severe double vision. I spent the summer recovering from the surgery and contemplating my future as an athlete.
When school started in the fall, I couldn’t imagine trying out for high school basketball. My double vision was still so bad that I had to get special prism glasses just to be able to read and write. I started wondering how in the world I would be able to play basketball if I didn’t know which of the two baskets to throw the ball into! I had other concerns as well: my energy level had not returned to normal since my surgery, I had not practiced any ball handling for four months, I had no confidence in myself and, worst of all, I was terrified of getting hit in the face with the ball or an elbow or a knee or a…
Immediately following my surgery I was feeling defeated and decided I wasn’t going to play basketball anymore. My parents and coach gave me the old, “When you fall off your horse, you have to get back on” pep talk and I tried hard to push the doubts out of my mind. Between that and my coach’s argument, “Better to give it a try and find out it’s as bad as you expected than NOT try at all and regret it later,” I finally decided it would be wise to give it a shot (no pun intended). But, the fear of being hurt on the court was something I just couldn’t get past.
My parents began an exhaustive search for some type of face protection to not only relieve my fears, but also protect me. Who wants to break the same bones the doctor just fixed? Not me! After trying several masks made for athletes, I was becoming more and more discouraged. The masks on the market covered so much of my face that it was difficult to breathe and the visibility was terrible.
This is where Jeremy and the Michigan Hand and Sports Rehab Center came in. My dad discovered Jeremy’s website, customfacemasks.com, and it looked like something that might work. I liked the idea of a custom-fit facemask, but was afraid I would be embarrassed to wear it and others would make fun of me. Then, I watched NBA player, “Rip” Hamilton’s, mask commercial on Jeremy’s website (Jeremy makes Rip’s facemasks); it inspired me and reminded me that a few broken bones were not going to keep me from doing what I love. Plus, “Rip” helped me see the cool factor in wearing the mask and I thought it might even be intimidating to my opponents. That couldn’t hurt!
Rita talked us through the process of making a mold of my face at home and it turned out to be as simple as she said it would be. Because my injuries were so extensive, Jeremy asked me to fly to Michigan for a personal fitting. We flew to Detroit and Jeremy took his time fitting and adjusting the mask to be certain that it fit perfectly; especially in the area of my surgery. He also gave us a tour of his shop and showed us how he makes the masks. It was very interesting, but the best part was when I got to hold one of “Rip’s” facemasks! Jeremy and Rita treated me like a VIP. I left the office excited to get home and try out my new mask.
Back in the game thanks to Jeremy
I wear my mask every time I’m on the court ~ for games AND for practices. I have been hit in the face during games and it didn’t even hurt! Wearing the mask has restored my confidence and given me a sense of security. Thank you, Jeremy, for providing a way for me to return to the game I love. You’re the best!
Ashlee Ginn, 14
Colorado Springs, CO