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Superfan screams his lungs out

statesman intern

Published: Friday, September 16, 2011

Updated: Friday, September 16, 2011 10:09

Jake Frisby

AGGIE ENTHUSIAST JAKE FRISBY heckles an opposing team on the front row at a basketball game in the Spectrum, during the 2009 season. Statesman file photo

After a trip to the Emergency Room, he sat in the Intensive Care Unit, a little dazed, wondering what happened.

Self-proclaimed hardcore Aggie fan Jake Frisby said the doctor's initial reaction was that of a holy-cow moment. The true fan's face sunk.

"My Aggies may be the reason I'm laying in the ER #truefan," Frisby tweeted from the hospital.

When Charley Riddle, a friend of Frisby, learned about the seriousness of his friend's condition, he said Frisby showed his undying devotion to the school — he showed his "true colors."

As Frisby recounted the events of his evening, just hours prior to going to hospital, he said he first started feeling the pain in his chest just as the Aggie Stampede was beginning to roll out. He said he thought nothing of it, but now he wished he had taken it easy with the yelling.

Over the past few years, there have been incidents concerning the health of Aggie fans, ranging from swine flu to heart problems.

"It all started around 3 p.m." Frisby said. "We had just started the stampede. In order to gain student attention I yell a lot, and I tend to have the loudest voice I have ever heard."

At last Saturday's football game, Frisby didn't realize his excessive yelling would lead to a bigger problem than he ever could have anticipated.

Frisby popped a bleb. According, a bleb is an air blister that forms on the pleura, the membranes covering the lung. Normally a popped bleb is not a major injury and just needs to heal by itself without any stress put on it.

"It was at that time that I started to feel this pain in my chest," Frisby said. "I thought that that was weird but didn't think much of it. I thought that it was just the fact that it was the first game, and I needed to get my vocal chords warmed up."

In Frisby's case, he said he was continually putting stress on it by screaming for the Aggies. As he continued to yell, he forced air out of his mouth — as usual — but he was also forcing air into his body through the injury. By the end of the day, air accumulated from the middle of his brain down to below his ribs.

As Utah State pregame rituals started and the fans badgered opposing players, Frisby said he felt the pain get worse.

"During the first quarter I screamed as I always scream," Frisby said. "I was walking with a friend, and I mentioned that my heart was hurting; and that I might need to go to the hospital."

As the game went on, air around his throat was compressed, which he said doctors explained forced the air to move faster through his throat. Frisby's voice started to get higher, much like if he would've inhaled the air from a helium balloon.

"I told all the guys around me that I thought that I had permanently damaged my vocal chords," Frisby said. "At the half, I sat down, and continued to yell a little bit, but it still really hurt."

Following the Aggies' crushing victory over Weber State, Frisby said he felt sick enough to forgo his traditional celebration at Angie's Restaurant, in order to see Dr. Jim Davis at the USU Student Health Center.

"He tried some things, and it didn't do a thing," Frisby said. "So I went into the hospital. They thought that it was strep throat, until they did a chest X-ray."

He said the X-ray revealed air in his chest cavity, which prompted doctors to give him a CT scan.

"They came back and said ‘There is air in your chest that shouldn't be there,'" he explained.

The air was around his lungs and heart, which he learned could have killed him. Air around the lungs prevents them from expanding to normal capacity, which causes a shortness of breath and could ultimately cause the lungs to collapse entirely. This is known as pneumothorax.

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