Matthew Konigsberg did not swim in the Hudson River in the New York City Triathlon, but his mother is not at all pleased. Konigsberg, who was featured in this space on June ‘ ("A fish in dirty water"), suffered a spinal compression fracture and fractured his right ankle while training just outside of Safed, when he fell down a 40-foot ravine in northern Israel. While he suffered no permanent damage, and will be fully recovered in a couple of months, Konigsberg is still on the mend, and was nowhere near ready for the July 16 Triathlon.
Konigsberg, a Rutgers University law student who lives in Hoboken, said, "My parents weren’t happy about the Hudson River situation, but I don’t think they are happy about what happened either. Of course, this entire ordeal was traumatic for them too. My parents have been the best nurses, driving me back and forth to doctor’s appointments and such. They were very upset that I fell and am injured."
Konigsberg remains inspired to compete in next year’s triathlon and is pleased that he managed to raise a considerable amount of charity during the build-up for this year’s event. He had gone to Israel to train and psych himself up for the event, but on the three-day Sea-to-Sea hike from the Mediterranean Sea to Safed at the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret), he slipped feet-first down a deep decline. He hit rocks, branches, and trees on the way down and had to yell to his hiking group to let them know he was all right.
"I have it ingrained in my head to not panic, and to assess the situation realistically," he said. "Once I stopped [sliding], it was like, ‘Okay, I’m alive.’
Next, I felt my injuries: Good. Next, I can wiggle my toes and fingers: GREAT, I’m not paralyzed. And once I realized my leg wasn’t broken, I knew everything would work out."
In addition to the missed triathlon, Konigsberg’s chief concern is the war that developed in the region in which he was injured.
"Northern Israel and the Galilee region are beautiful and a pleasure to visit. Where we were hiking, rockets landed last week," said Konigsberg. "Israel is a safe haven and divine gift for me and my people."