Field of Honor 1/2

field of hon·or

1 – a scene of a duel

2 – a region where a battle is being, or has been, fought

3 – the scene of the final battle between the kings of the earth at the end of the world

Polo strategy on hitting: Get your hand high for a long shot. Hit through the ball. Keep your arm straight until it passes forward and above the shoulder. Give yourself space hitting the ball – not too close to the horse. Take your time on the ball. Ride your horse before your hit the ball. Set your horse up for the shot.

Jamie Le Hardy – Polo Champion

He lays in the field of battle next to his trusty steed, writhing in pain and struggling to breathe; diaphragm spasming to the point that the lungs can’t function. Other combatants stand around him swaying in the awkward forward and backwards rocking motion that is unique to their mode of transportation. His polo mallet lays nestled in the grass next to him after causing the accident. His steed lies nearly lifeless just a few feet further away.

The origins of Polo date back to the 5th century BC in Persia where elite calvary units of the king’s guard used the game as simulated horseback battle.

As I walk up to the players on the polo field they canter away in their awkward little leaning motions to give me more room to inspect my new patient. We arrived with the fire fighters so our little entourage is trudging across the field while we carry bags and push a gurney to the crumpled man in the middle of the “field of honor.”

As with any injury of this nature one of my first concerns are the integrity of the neck and the neuro-function of the extremities. I run my patient through the battery of simple neurological tests while one of the other polo players recounts the events leading up to the injury.

Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the Turkish Emperor of North India, ruled as an emperor for only four years, from 1206 to 1210. He died accidentally in 1210 playing polo.

“Jim was shuffling the ball towards the goal and one of the defenders started to crowd him. It was totally legal and everything, he was just defending. So Jim went to score and took a big wind up with the mallet. When he took the shot his mallet got caught in the undercarriage of his mount and he got thrown. He didn’t pass out or anything but it looked like he couldn’t breathe so we called you guys.”

After all the neuro tests come back with no issues I sit Jim up and assess for any obvious abrasions, bruising, or swelling that would indicate a problem. Nothing really looks out of place until I encircle his rib cage with my hands and have him take a big breath. Jim practically jumps out of his skin with painful sensations shooting from his flank to the middle of his back. A closer inspection shows that the ribs are stable enough but it’s very likely that he separated some of the cartilage where the ribs connect to the spine. It’s not a critical injury but it’s worthy of some x-rays and sign-off by a doctor. Once I listen to his lungs I’m satisfied that the injury is probably localized to the ribs and not involving a collapsed lung – I’m ready to transport. I’m just worried about his poor steed laying in the grass, barely moving, with pitiful whimpering noises coming in small gasps.

To the fire lieutenant as we’re loading up the ambulance, “Can you please call PD and have the poor steed put out of his misery.”

Military officers imported the game of polo to Britain in the 1860s. The establishment of polo clubs throughout England and western Europe followed after the formal codification of rules.



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