Nerve injury from drum equipment impacts senior Dominic Dimambro’s running career

Brendan Triola, Sports Editor

Winning the 2015-2016 regional qualifying track meet as a team was one of the most memorable moments in senior Dominic Dimambro’s running career. It almost never happened; he was forced to sit out for the entire previous calendar year.

He was not only a highly sought after runner, but a leader in the Fenton Marching Tigers drumline and a student preparing to take on the full International Baccalaureate schedule. An impinged nerve in his hip from his drum carrier spoiled his season before he even got started.

The drums and their carriers were more than 10 years old. Dimambro was still growing into his body, and the carrier he wore distributed the weight of the drums unevenly. A weight north of 40 pounds driving into his leg caused an impinged nerve, and Dimambro was having trouble feeling anything in that region of his body.

“I couldn’t feel any touch or sharpness on my leg,” Dimambro said. “I had to stop using the drum equipment and see a doctor.”

Dimambro was unable to perform at halftime shows with the band for the rest of the fall, and when he ran his leg became inflamed. He was unable to compete for his cross country his entire sophomore season. This problem was still present as winter came around.

The usual off season for runners is what they call “just another season.” Typically, runners from both cross country and track run during the winter, forming the indoor track team. Dimambro was unable to participate in the offseason workouts; he had to add rehabilitation exercises to his daily routine.
“Depending on the person and the extent and cause of the injury, treatment can involve a variety of exercises and techniques,” athletic trainer Mitch Smelis said. “Specific strengthening exercises help to calm down the inflamed tissues. Then they strengthen muscles around the affected area to help protect from future issues.”

By January 2016, Dimambro’s parents noticed that he was worn down all of the time, and he was confused about why his running was barely progressing at all. Another trip to the doctors, but this time there was a different outcome. He was diagnosed with Mononucleosis, commonly referred to as mono.
“I was out of school for a week,” Dimambro said. “But when it comes to running, drumming and anything else outside of school, I was completely shut down. I hated doing nothing all spring.”

Dimambro started getting back into his daily routine by the middle of July, and by the fall he said that he was feeling much better. He led his team to victory in the regional qualifying tournament. He was able to finish in the Top 30 of the state and achieved All-State honors.
“There were times when I doubted if I would ever be able to run again,” Dimambro said. “From the injury to the illness, I wanted to give up so many times. But winning that regional qualifying meet with my team made it all well worth it.”