Blakney Clark is a Communication major from Caledonia. On Oct. 9, while hunting with a crossbow, Clark accidentally shot herself in the foot. Photos of the injury quickly gained popularity on social media, inspiring Clark to speak out on the importance of weapon safety.
Q: Can you walk us through how it happened?
A: “I was hunting. I was in a deer blind, and I decided to just leave because I wasn’t having any luck, and I was getting eaten by mosquitos. So I got up out of the chair – well, first I took the safety off on the crossbow, because I had heard something earlier and I forgot to put the safety back on. Always put the safety back on. And I got up out of the chair to get out of the blind, and I stumbled, and I grabbed the crossbow and hit the trigger, and it went through my foot.”
Q: I cannot imagine, because those things pack a punch.
A: "They do. It was a Broadhead arrow, too, so it was wider than normal.”
Q: As a hunter, what other weapons do you use?
A: “I use a gun or a compound bow, which isn’t a crossbow. It’s a bow you have to pull back.”
Q: You originally had a cast on your foot, but I see that it’s gone now.
A: “Yes, I got my cast off, I have a boot on now. I can walk more. I’m only supposed to bear weight of 25 pounds with my crutches, but I’m not doing what I’m supposed to do. It looks a lot better. The wound is healed. That one toe is sticking out, but it won’t be able to move again. It’s not necessary for balance.”
Q: So it severed the nerve?
A: “Yeah, it severed the tendon. My doctor said it would be more trouble to go in to repair it and do more trauma to the foot. It would do more harm than good, basically.”
Q: What steps do you have left in your recovery process?
A: “I have to go back to the doctor in three weeks. I think he is just going to check it to make sure it’s still doing good. I’m not entirely sure. He hasn’t mentioned it, my doctor, but I’ll have to do some physical therapy to like, re-learn how to walk. I kind of walk with it turned in now just because naturally it turned in. I don’t know exactly how long I’ll be doing that, but hopefully not too terribly long.”
Q: What have you learned from this experience? Any advice for other hunters?
A: “Always be careful. You can never be too careful. Always make sure the safety is on on your weapons.”