dedicated to the artistry of the leg cast from yesteryear


Gimpix Top Page

Old C4S clip store

Models 20-39

Models 1-19

Videos 21-39

Videos 1-20

Image Sets

Cast Walking Heels



AI (retro) images **new**

Film/TV leg casts

Retro Leg Casts

Newspaper Leg Casts

Modern Casts



Magazine &








What's So Funny About a Broken Leg?
by Joy Darrow Baim
Chicago Tribune, Sunday, March 26, 1967

Joy colleages ONE LEG IS SWATHED in a cast, my face is scrunched up with pain, and my stability is threatened by wobbling crutches.
I meet my friend Don.
He can hardly say hello, be is laughing so hard.
He is not the only one convulsed with mirth at the sight of me these days. Friends, relatives, and co-workers double up with chuckles when I make the scene and then proceed to engage in verbal thrusts and parries on the subject of sliding.

My boss laughed out loud at the sight of me when I returned from vacation, and my best friend, unforgivably, giggled. Travelers in the airport completely lost control of themselves when they spotted my physical disability, and the air line stewardess, with a smile, asked if I'd had a good time.
Had a good time? Breaking a leg?
Of course It's funny. Because it was obtained "on the slopes" while engaging in a sport that Invites catastrophes and casts. So any respell for one's newly disabled limb [there are approximately 80,000 skiers each year who suffer these bad breaks] seems destined to be lost in instant hilarity. It seems to be a seasonable — tho unreasonable — ailment that strikes all nonskiers between December and April.
One saving factor, however, can be found by those who travel with a ski group, as this writer did—the Jack and Jill club. For then there are 38 guaranteed sympaticos, all of whom appreciate the loss of two days on the slopes, four months in a cast, and the considerable loss to one's dignity suffered while wailing in unesthetic repose for the ski patrol toboggan. [When they tote you from the scene of your spill, they cover you from nose to toe with a tarpaulin so that no other skiers can see the appreciable damage wrought by a miplaced ski.]
When traveling with a ski club, there are daily' medical bulletins passed among the members during the various apres-ski activities. "Don wrenched his knee; that was all.
The next day: "Ray had to have five above his eye."
Then came the fateful fall and my joining the statistics that one of every 10 skiers each year incurs some injury which requires medical attention.
So what started out as an enthusiastic introduction of a midwest skier to the glories of the western mountains turned into a more sedentary adventure: a lifelong skier's first encounter with five pounds of plaster on her leg.
But the hospital in Aspen proved to be almost worth all the guffaws. It is no one-day outpatient clinic like at Boyne mountain, where broken skiers are zipped in and out with all the efficiency of a checkout counter at the supermarket. The Aspen hospital, sitting idyllically at the foot of the mountains, has sun-tanned nurses, doctors in turtle-neck ski sweaters, and a hobbling clientele more concerned about getting a tan than about their five newly purpled toes. The anesthetist wears apres-ski boots, a Tyrolean ski sweater, and sexy stretch pants, and the physical therapist shows ex-skiers how to use crutches by interspersing her instructions with familiar ski terms like "christie" and snowplow" and "powder snow."
Even more interesting is the fact that more females than males break their limbs on the slopes, usually the left leg. (Something to do with being right-handed and subsequently weak on the left downhill ski as well as the reputed frailty of females.]
Joy bathroom One of the biggest shocks of this ex-snow bunny, who learned long ago not to carry her skis in front of her like kindling, was figuring out how to get dressed while half encased in a cast. It proved to be a character building experience. And the 11th commandment of the hospital was soon learned: Thou shalt not get thy cast wet. Nirvana would be a shower built for crutch-bound ex-skiers or perhaps an assortment of 'toe cozies" to match every outfit.
"This hospital is more like a country club," said one enthusiastic skier-doctor, whose only problem was how to find enoigh time to ski during his busy season which, not surprisingly, coincides with the high accident rate season.
Joy freckled nurse Joy freckled nurse in skiwear The nurses are not scared off by the daily onslaught of damaged skier;, all of whom arrive still damp from the snow on the slopes. One freckled beauty from San Francisco said: "All these broken legs and arms don't worry me at all. It's just part of the sport."
And when going off duty, she changed gear right at the hospital to save time for the slopes, thus considerably increasing the misery quotient of the patients.
Part of the sport for the one of five doctors who sets about five legs each day during the ski rush, is "being able to help where I'm really needed."
He says that he could have specialized in the problems of the Aunt Tillies of the world, but decided instead to "be where the action in orthopedics was." He seems to have made a wise decision.
Joy new bedfellow Joy talk ski bunny In a hospital which is 90 per cent skiers, there is a lot of swapping of stories about the slopes. It is an average of four to six months of a plaster bedfellow for the patients, and the snow bunny who broke her tibia on her first ride up the towlift could take comfort in the fact that the head of the Aspen mountain ski school was in the next room suffering not too gracefully, his third broken leg.
Midwest skiers, who are usually most adept at side-slipping down corrugated ice, doing snowplows in slush, and parallel turns on frozen grass, are confused at first by the soft resistance of snow to turns. So it is perhaps, after the ski jackets come off in the heat of the day and the electric socks stay packed in suitcases, they do become a little reckless and take to the snow-coated hills with too much gusto.
As a result, midwest skiers fall frequently and foolishly, a fact proved by the hostess at the Denver airport restaurant who is very adept at wheeling wheel chairs under tables "We bad 20 persons in wheel chairs last night during the dinner hour," she informed me while giving a brisk turn to my chair to maneuver my upturned leg between two table legs. "Most were going back to the Chicago area, and 19 of them were skiers. Or had been," she snickered, a little unkindly, I thought.
But the west measured up to the almost impossible expectations of this skier used to Michigan's and Wisconsin's timid slopes.
Joy hobble steps side And after conquering hills with 3,052 feet vertical drops [aptly titled things like "Kleenex Korner," "Point of No Return", "Nervous Traverse," "Cold Feet," "Look Ma," and "Compromise"], the next hurdles for me seem to be learning how to climb two consecutive steps and how to treat two badly sunburned earlobes.
And, most crucial, how to keep on laughing back.

Mrs. Baim is now back at her desk at The Tribune, altho her doctor says that it will be four months before that cast can come off.

From the Chicago Reader, Sep 12, 1996:
In 1967 the marriage was in a stage of terminal disintegration when Steve Pratt, a 21-year-old part-time public school teacher, spotted her at a party. "She was wearing a white lacy dress, and she had this long blond hair, and she was dancing—on one leg, the other one in a cast. I was immediately smitten. She seemed to have this complete command of life, this boundless energy. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life."

Born in 1935, she was thirty-two when she broke her leg skiing in 1967.
Joy Darrow Baim sadly passed away in 1996 at the far too young age of 62.