High school star athlete loses part of his finger in snowblower accident

TOWNSHIP OF BANGOR, MI – Troy Porter’s blood-spattered face showed little concern.

His senior basketball season has likely been lost. His college baseball future was in doubt.

And he wasn’t 100% sure how much of his hand remained under the bloody gauze pad at the end of his talented right arm.

“It hit an artery, so there was blood flowing everywhere,” he said. “It was pretty disgusting.”

Still, Bay City star John Glenn didn’t seem to be sweating big problems in the hours following the loss of flesh and bone in a snowblower crash. Porter endured a lot of pain and injury during his high school years, and no setbacks seem to frighten him.

“It’s hard to read it, I never know what’s going on in his mind,” said his father, Larry Porter. “I think he was pretty scared at first, thinking he might lose his whole finger. But he shows no pain. He didn’t miss a beat.

The top scorer and rebounder for the boys’ basketball team John Glenn, Porter is also a highly regarded pitcher who is signed to play with the Saginaw Valley State University baseball program next year.

But, at least for a brief moment on Tuesday, February 16, he didn’t treat his right hand with the care it deserves.

When John Glenn’s match with Alma was called off due to the weather, Porter and teammate Garett Glazier saw a business opportunity. Together they do about 12 snow removal jobs in town and they got a free night to get to work.

In the last driveway of the night, Porter said his snowblower was stuck. He put his hand to the front of the blower to release ice, not thinking it was within range of the blade.

“I barely put my hand in there, but (the blade) must have been hooked on something and I released it a bit – and it ripped off my top of my middle finger,” he said. -he declares.

“I guess I wasn’t thinking too much back then.”

Friends took him to the hospital and called his parents, Larry and Shelly Porter, home after Freeland’s freshman basketball game their oldest son Drew was coaching.

“He’s just a kid making money and he’s made a flawless move,” said Larry Porter. “He has a lot of common sense. He’s worked on motorcycles and things like that his whole life. He knows better than not to turn that engine off.

“All it takes is once.”

John Glenn’s Troy Porter attempts a shot against Bay City Western on Monday, February 8, 2021, at John Glenn High School. (Cody Scanlan | MLive.com)

Porter said his index finger suffered a cut that required stitches, but his middle finger suffered the most from the carnage. The fingertip was completely severed, including a piece of bone. He said medics were able to sew a flap of skin to the tip and save the finger pad.

His middle finger is no longer the longest number on his right hand.

But, in the words Porter has heard and repeated over and over again over the past week, it could have been a lot worse.

A report of PubMed.gov Snowblower accidents account for approximately 5,800 emergency room visits each year across the country. The most common injury is to the hand, and about 22% of these involve amputation.

The report did not include data on how often the injury occurs to the right hand of a right-handed pitcher. Porter made his mark as a rookie at John Glenn College, then missed most of the last two years of baseball recovering from an elbow injury.

His work ethic throughout the process and strong return potential was enough to convince SVSU coaches to offer him a scholarship to play at the NCAA Division II level. SVSU coach Steve Jaksa said Monday that had not changed.

“My initial concern is for him as a person. It was an unfortunate accident – no one wants to get hurt – so his health and well-being is # 1, ”Jaksa said. “Is this going to affect his pitch?” I do not know.

“Nothing will change on my side. We will give it every chance, as we would before. I hope he will be in good health, return to the pitch and help his team this spring, as I know he wants.

Porter said he received a promising update from his doctor during a re-check. And, although he’s currently changing the bandage on a culled finger twice a day right now, he’s already considering throwing a baseball.

“I should be fine for baseball,” he said. “The middle finger is obviously the most important. So, it’ll be weird to grab a baseball at first, but you should be fine.

Porter even plans to return in time to play in the district basketball tournament, which comes at the start of his doctor’s 4-6 week downtime.

John Glenn won’t look like the same team without him. Despite being just over six feet tall, Porter is a fearless player in the paint who led Bay County with 12.7 rebounds per game a year ago. He also averaged 10.1 points per game and started his senior campaign well.

Two days after his injury, his teammates rallied to score a 56-52 victory over Birch Run, which gave the Bobcats proof that the game would continue.

“He’s a leader, he’s vocal and a good kid who leads by example. It’s a loss for this team, without a doubt, ”said Glenn’s basketball coach Dale Clyde.

“We’re going to be stressed out without him. It gives the other kids the chance to do more things, and they responded well in our first game. We will see if this continues.

Clyde said his stomach sank “like when you’re on a roller coaster” when Porter’s mother broke the news to him. He said Porter was still coming to training and that they had had discussions about how to overcome adversity – which Porter is all too familiar with – and make wise decisions.

“Coaches are always talking about making good, solid decisions in life,” Clyde said. “This is an extreme example, but it shows that you still want to exercise good judgment.

“Telling it as an adult is one thing, but kids with their bulletproof vests are quite another. All you can do is tell them to be careful, to make good decisions, and to hope that they are listening. “

Regrets? Yes, Porter says he definitely has them. But he’s willing to pay the price, to do what needs to be done, to start doing the things he loves again and to make it a lesson learned.

“If there is a possibility, it will come back to 100 percent,” Clyde said. “He’s that kind of kid.


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