Surfing can be a brutal sport when things don’t go your way, but for one New Zealand man a deep gash to his eye was “a blessing in disguise”.
Travis McCoy was fresh off a four-month stint surf coaching in Indonesia when he came across a beautiful swell on his home turf.
Refusing to let it pass him by, McCoy said he and his mate shot over to the surf on a jet ski and got to work.
After three or four attempts, a fifth crack saw the board slide out as its fin sliced deep into McCoy’s forehead, sending blood pouring from his head as he struggled to cling to consciousness.
Rushed to hospital, McCoy underwent an immediate CT scan where doctors cleared him of any serious damage from the board incident – before finding something far more serious.
A three-centimetre tumour was located at the rear of his brain, something McCoy fears would have gone unnoticed for a long time if not for his head injury.
“Well I'm lucky the doctors even found this thing in my head. If it weren't for the fin cut, I never would have known the tumour was there,” he told Stab Magazine.
Given the location of the tumour, removing it could leave the young kiwi paralysed.
“I have two options: either they can drill into my brain for a biopsy…or I can wait a few months and get a new scan to see if it's grown, shrunk, or stayed the same size,” McCoy said.
“I've decided to just wait for now and check back in a few months. I'm trying not to think about it for the time being.”
McCoy said the tumour is sitting on one of his main nerve endings and that if does get any bigger, he will be forced to undergo surgery and have it removed.
For now, his positive outlook on life remains as strong as ever.
“I will survive this, I know it but if it had been worse and I had be given only so long to live, then at least in my short life I chased the waves I dreamed of as a grommet.”