FanPost

Orbital Bone Story: Circa 1940s


Bill Priatko, my coach at Swissvale High School in 1971, is an alumnus of North Braddock Scott High School and the University of Pittsburgh. He signed on with the Green Bay Packers in 1958, and proceeded to play for the Steelers under Buddy Parker, and then for the Browns, under the legendary Paul Brown. He is the subject of an article in the Maple Street Press Steelers Annual 2011 (<!-- w -->www.maplestreetpress.com<!-- w -->). Here's Bill's story of breaking his orbital bone, in the late 1940s.

I was a senior at Scott High School and in the third game against Munhall, I was making a tackle and the running back’s knee banged into my cheek/eye area. After the game while combing my hair, after a shower, I had a terrible black eye. MY mother was upset and said, no more football, she wasn’t going to let me play. On that Saturday night, the day after the game, my older brother took me to a drug store in Braddock purchased some leeches, put them on my eye and it took the ugly black from my eye. My mother couldn’t believe it, I told her it would be okay. ( she didn’t know about the leeches). Four days later, my cheekbone/eye area was paining me, it didn’t seem natural. I told my coach, Johnny Reed and he told me to go to Braddock Hospital and get it x-rayed. I walked two miles to the hospital and two miles back carrying the x-ray. The doctor at the hospital told me my playing days were over, that year, as he said I had a broken orbital bone under my eye. My coach, when I handed him the x-ray said, “ what did he say, Pratt?” I told him what he said and he said, “what does he know, you’ll be alright.” He said “we will put a nose guard on you”. ( nose guards were available, at that time but were not used) I never missed a practice that week. I played that week and the rest of the season. Nine years later while playing for Green Bay against the Washington Redskins, I broke my nose. ( in those days, you never said anything and didn’t leave the game) After the game, they x-rayed my nose and the doctor confirmed the break and said, “ do you know that you have a broken orbital bone that is an old injury and it is healed in a fragmented, broken manner. When did this happen?” I told him when and how it happened and he said that that should have been fixed when it happened. To this day, my orbital bone is in the same condition. It should have been surgically repaired when I broke it, 63 years ago.




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