Hey Kid, What Happened to Your Face?

Brooklynn McNeil: the future olympic horseback rider for the year 2020. My 10 year old self could ride any horse out there, and tame even the wildest of stallions. From the time I could walk I was out running and playing with the horses that neighbored our property. When I was nowhere to be found, my family could find me at the fence of our property singing to the horses.

Like any advanced rider out there, I have a few stories of when I have been thrown off my horse and been sent to the emergency room. It was two days before thanksgiving break and my family had a glorious vacation planned to go to Hawaii. My trainer suggested that I try a new horse to ride. Everything was going wonderful and I was taking the horse through course of jumps. Next thing you know, the horse got spooked and started galloping around the arena.

I had never really had this happen before where the horse was galloping around with no control. After six laps around the arena with me tugging on the reins and nothing happening, my trainer started yelling at me, “Just Bail!!” meaning that I needed to jump off the horse. I’m just going to say that the horse was running at 100 mph and it was a little more than scary to just go ahead and hop off the horse. So my big plan to “hop off the horse” was to get off BETWEEN THE FENCE AND THE HORSE. Obviously this didn’t go very well for me as I then immediately was underneath the horse.

After my trainer came over to scoop up my flattened body, it was clear that I needed to go to the emergency room asap. The x-rays showed that I fractured my zygomatic process, otherwise known as the cheekbone, and I was no longer the cute 10 year old that I was a few hours earlier. To top it off, air bubbles had gotten into my facial bones and would further prevent me from getting on a plane. Well all know what happens to your potato chip bag when you are 40,000 feet in the air, and the doctors suggested that I didn’t do that to my face. In addition to looking like an alien with a broken face, I ruined the Hawaiian thanksgiving vacation for my family.

A glorious picture of me dabbing over the finish line of a 15-mile Spartan Race in 2016

My name is Brooklynn McNeil, and I am majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular biology with a minor in global health. I have a passion for traveling and for helping people in need. My dream job would be to work with doctors without borders, or some other equivalent, in third world countries. I love traveling, the outdoors, and the fact that everything is temporary. I plan on moving countries or cities every couple years until I find somewhere that I just can’t bring myself to leave.

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