Broken leg will slow Brevan Bea, not stop him

Washougal sophomore used crutches to get himself off the field, 10 minutes after suffering from a compound fracture in his left leg.

RIDGEFIELD — Brevan Bea heard the pop. He saw his mangled leg. He knew. He knew immediately.

“I tried lifting it up. My (upper) leg went up and my foot stayed on the ground,” Bea recalled.

He knew, but his football mind refused to believe.

Bea wanted to shake it off, get back up, take a few minutes, and return to the game.

While still on the field, Brevan seriously asked his dad, an emergency room physician’s assistant, if he could tape up the leg to see if Brevan could still play.

“I was in shock,’’ Bea said. “Then a little pain. It started to throb. I threw my helmet because I was mad, just angry that I broke it. I didn’t really care. I just wanted to play.”

Washougal football player Brevan Bea uses crutches to get himself off the field, roughly 10 minutes after he suffered a compound fracture of his left leg. Pete Bartel, a physical therapist, was one of many who helped Brevan last week. Photo by Mike Schultz
Washougal football player Brevan Bea uses crutches to get himself off the field, roughly 10 minutes after he suffered a compound fracture of his left leg. Pete Bartel, a physical therapist, was one of many who helped Brevan last week. Photo by Mike Schultz

Bea, a standout sophomore for the Washougal Panthers, suffered a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula of the left lower leg.

Within 10 minutes of suffering such a painful, graphic injury, Bea was on crutches, taking himself off the field, allowing for the game to resume. It might have been the most impressive performance of the night in Washougal’s 34-14 win over Ridgefield last Friday..

Normal protocol in these situations is to stabilize the patient and wait for an ambulance. Brevan, though, wanted off the field, and his father, Brian Bea, gave the OK after witnessing the fine job by the trainer and firefighters performing the initial care on the field.

Brevan’s older brother Blaine, also on the team, assisted Brevan in the final steps to the sideline.

At the time, Brevan was still thinking about the game.

“I thought I could get off the field and I could sit down and see if I could play through it,” Brevan said. “My dad said I couldn’t play. I wanted to stay and play.”
Brian Bea said he and his son also wanted the game to resume. There had already been a 10-minute delay, the players from both teams were getting “cold,” and it would have taken more time to wait for the ambulance. Brian gave his written permission for Brevan to be moved, a temporary “cast” was placed on Brevan’s leg, and Brevan used the crutches to get himself to the sideline.

“The people helping my son were fantastic,” Brian Bea said. “Can’t say enough good things about what they do and what they were trying to do.”

Brevan was then driven to the hospital by his family.

“Brevan is tough as nails,” Brian said. “He did a lot better than I would have done with a leg flopping around.”

Brevan had surgery that night. He will need to go at least eight weeks without putting weight on the leg. His sophomore season of football is done, and he will not be playing basketball this winter. He vowed to return to the football field next year.

Brevan Bea earned second-team, all-league recognition as a linebacker after his freshman season with the Panthers. He was playing even better this fall. At the very least, he can claim his final play of his sophomore season was a big one.

“I don’t play offense that much,” he said. “This is my one shot to prove what I’ve got. I just had to run and give it all I had. The adrenaline when you’re running and breaking tackles, it’s unbelievable.”

Bea found daylight and picked up 52 yards on the play.

However, a Ridgefield defender caught up to Bea, got both arms around him, and pulled back. The left leg got trapped under the weight of both players, and it snapped.

The trainer made it out to the field, as well as coach David Hajek. They immediately called over for help from nearby firefighters. This was not a minor injury.

Brian Bea took his time on the way to his son. He did not want to interfere with the medical team on the field. He might be more than qualified, but it was not his job, not this night.

Hajek met Brian before Brian could get to his son.

“His eyes were as big as a frying pan,” Brian recalled. “He said, ‘It’s broke.’ I said, ‘Well, OK, he’s talking, he’ll be OK.’”

Father and son had a quick conversation. Brevan wanted to stay in the game. Brian said no, this is not something we can just “tape up.” There would no walking this one off.

His dad did reassure his son that everything would be OK.

“You’re a sophomore. Let’s be fortunate it’s not your head, not your neck. Live to fight another day,” Brian said.

The Panthers, by the way, would score on that drive, helped by that 52-yard play from Bea.

Washougal improved to 5-0 and will be taking on 5-0 Hockinson in Week 6. Bea is hoping to be able to attend the game.

The Bea family is grateful for all the aid it received Friday night. They also wanted to give a salute to all trainers and medical staff who assist with all the athletes in the community. Brian noted there are plenty of other athletes who endure injuries, some worse than what Brevan went through Friday night.

Brevan’s situation was noticeable not just because of the severity of the injury, but by the way he got himself off the field. That was a rare feat. But he could not have done that without the initial attention he received on the field.

“We are fortunate we live in such a wonderful medical area we can address and fix things like this,” Brian Bea said. “Bad things do happen. At the end of the day, it’s a terrible thing, but it’s not a tragedy. We’ll recover from this.”

“I’ll be back next year,” Brevan Bea promised.

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