A former Orcas resident is undergoing a leg amputation after sustaining an injury while playing rugby.
Jacob Hansen, who graduated from Orcas High School in 2011, has been in and out of the hospital since April 2018. He lives in Coeur d-Alene, Idaho, with his wife Lauren Wimmer and 2-year-old daughter Harper.
“I was playing for the Montana Rugby Union in the state tournament when I got hit at a funny angle,” Hansen said. “My cleat was planted in the ground and a player fell on my back, and I wasn’t able to stop. I folded over, and my toes almost touched my thigh.”
He severed the nerve and veins behind his knee, which was dislocated. So much blood pooled up in his leg that it began swelling to a dangerous level. Hansen was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, where two large incisions were made in his calf to relieve the pressure. Three months later, after time in the hospital and a rehab facility, he returned home.
“I celebrated my daughter’s first birthday in the hospital, and that was really tough,” Hansen said.
He and Wimmer’s wedding date was slated to be June 9, but due to his injury, they canceled their large event. On June 10, Hansen’s mom Maureen drove him to a local park, where Wimmer stood in her gown and 40 of their closest friends and family for a surprise ceremony.
“I had no clue. I was super happy my wife surprised me,” he said. “There are some good moments that have come out of all this.”
In the past year, Hansen has undergone multiple surgeries and used assistive devices to walk, but pressure sores and a knee infection have halted his healing. After many consultations with his medical team, Hansen decided that a below-the-knee amputation will give him the best chance for an active life. His surgery is on July 3.
“I feel really good about it. I’ve done a lot of research,” Hansen said. “I know that people can do awesome things with prosthetics. There is a really cool prosthetics sports league in Spokane that I want to join once I am up and moving. I’ve got a really awesome community around me and when I’m through this, I want to give back and help others. … I want to be strong for others.”
The family has been burdened with significant medical bills even with insurance coverage. Hansen is employed at an appraisal management company but has missed a lot of work due to his injury. A GoFundMe page has raised just over half of a $12,000 goal. To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/1oefdoe500.
In addition to friends and family offering support, rugby players from all over the country have reached out, visited and lifted up Hansen and his family.
“So much has happened behind the scenes. People have done so much more than they probably think,” Hansen said. “The financial support is incredible but having people just come around and hang out is really awesome. They’ve stuck with me through it. I can’t say thank you enough.”