Skate Anatomy: Justin Strubing

Justin Strubing

Left side:

Broken arm:
“Around ’86, I was skating Derby and tried to do a boneless in the snake run. When I landed, I looped out and threw down my left arm to brace my fall. When I looked down at my arm, it was completely snapped and my hand was just dangling. I was really young and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. That was my first real injury.”

Broken leg, twice:
“The first time was in ’93. I was skating a quarterpipe and went to do an ally-oop backside disaster up the extension. I slipped out and my leg got caught under my ass as all my weight came down on it. I snapped my tibia.
“The second time was in ’96. I had just shown up to a demo in Berkeley. I go to ollie over the pyramid, I kick it out, and my foot completely breaks through the landing ramp. I ended up breaking the same bone as the first time.”

Fractured wrist bones:
“Skating a demo in Omaha, Nebraska, I slammed on my wrist. When it happened I wrote it off as a sprain and didn’t get it checked out, but every time I’d fall on it after that it would just kill. When I finally got it X-rayed two years later, I found out that I had fractured two bones in my wrist and it was too late to do anything about it. My wrist doesn’t bend back at all, and I can hardly use it.”

Mystery hip nugget:
“The first time I noticed the mystery nugget must have been around ’90—a little nugget, about the size of a superball, floating in my hip with a range of motion no more than an inch. Over years of slamming, the range of motion grew and grew until it was floating all over about six inches of my hip. Finally, around ’99, I decided that it was time to get it checked out. I went to a doctor and he stuck a needle in it and tried to extract fluid from it, but nothing came out. He thought it would be a good idea to get it out of there anyway. So he numbed the area, made a slice an inch or so long and tried popping it out. Eventually, the nugget shot out and bounced across the floor.”


Broken neck:
“In ’95, the Santa Rosa skatepark was still really new and was one of the first modern concrete parks in Northern California. I was super-excited to skate the park. First thing, when we get there, I charge full-speed at the main spine, thinking I’m just going to ollie the shit out of it, but instead I end up doing a half-gainer, landing on my shoulders and head. Dazed, I try to shake it off and keep skating. I quickly realized that I was screwed, and was forced to sit and watch my friends have all the fun. That evening we make the hour-and-a-half drive back home and I go to sleep thinking that I just need chiropractic help. The next day, my mom convinces me to go and get an X-ray and, sure enough, I had fractured my C-6 vertebra. I spent the next six to eight weeks in a giant neck collar in high school.”

Bruised lower back:
“I was skating a ditch in Vegas. There were two makeshift concrete slab extensions on the top of the ditch, and I went to do an ollie transfer from slab to slab. When I was coming in, one of my wheels clipped and I was thrown all the way down to the bottom of the ditch—straight to my tailbone on a pile of rocks and rubble. It swelled up and got colorful, and the pain was gnarly.”

Right side:

Dislocated thumb:
“I was skating the big gap at 3rd and Army. When I landed, I got a wheel bite and supermanned into the three stairs by the landing, clipping my thumb on one of them. A friend helped me yank it back into place on the spot and that was that.”

Broken hand:
“I was skating the base of a monument in San Jose. It was painted with this ultra-slick paint and was super-dusty. It was a double-decker, so the top ledge was around waist-high. I went to do a 50-50, missed the grind, and was heading toward the ground face-first. I somehow managed to get my arm out in front of me, and jammed my hand into the ground, breaking the metacarpal on the pinky side.”

Hand stitches:
“Around ’97, I woke up in a strange house and I left in a hurry to get to my car. I stopped by a 7-11, grabbed an iced tea and began the groggy skate across town to where my car was parked. In mid-push I hit a crack and fell forward, shattering the bottle into my hand. I could see into the depths of my palm. I went to the emergency room and they gave me a few stitches. When the doctor was finished, he took an X-ray, only to find that there was still a big chunk of glass inside my palm wedged under some tendons and ligaments. He cut some of the stitches, pried the cut open and began to dig. A half-hour later he finally got it out. I kept the piece of glass and whenever a spiritual person looks at my palm, they tell me that since the cut goes right through my life line, that it marks a big event to come. I think that if that is true, then the event already happened with the death of my little brother.” SB