Smiling Brighter: Bryce Long looks on the bright side of life while recovering from accident


Photo Provided by: Bryce Long

Bryce Long and Iliana Esquibel take a picture together after a concert.

Riley Harris, Editor-in-chief

STORY BY: Riley Harris
On Oct. 13, 2018, Bryce Long’s, who was a freshman at the time, life changed forever. While performing the bands show, “Birds of a Feather,” Long got hit in the mouth and lost multiple teeth, which led to numerous surgeries.
“In Tulsa, Oklahoma, our performance was about birds, and at the end of the show we all fly off with our arms swinging in the air,” Long said. “As I ran off the field, I was hit in the mouth with an instrument.”
With this accident came a lot of struggles in Long’s life, but he is working through them.
“This accident really put me behind in school; I missed three months of school,” Long said. “I still have problems with PTSD, and it is very hard to step back on the football field. It’s even hard to look at my trumpet and not get emotional. I am working through those problems every day, and it is taking time, but with the help of my friends and family, it is making this process a lot easier.”
Iliana Esquibel, a sophomore and one of Long’s closest friends, was there on the day that the accident happened and has helped him along the way.
“I made sure that he knew that I was always going to be there for him, and that if he ever needed to talk about anything, I was always there to listen to him,” Esquibel said.
When Esquibel first found out about her close friend, she really didn’t know what to think.
“I first found out on the bus on the way back home, Esquibel said. “At first I thought they were joking. Then I realized I didn’t see him on the bus and got really nervous and scared. When we were on the charter bus, me and my friend both just started bawling. When I first saw a picture of how bad it was, I was overwhelmed because it was a lot worse than I thought. I knew he was going to go through a lot, so I knew then that I was going to be there to help him get through it.”
Since his accident, Long has had four major surgeries and still has a couple more to go.
“My first surgery was in Tulsa,” Long said. “It was to remove bone shards and a tooth from my nasal cavity. My second one was a bone graft. One of my most recent ones was the day before school, where I had another bone graft surgery and an implant screw surgery. I still have two more surgeries I have to have done, but without those major surgeries, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. All of the pain has been worth it.”
Although to many this seems like a scary thing, Long has been able to overcome all of the challenges, and is looking on the brighter side instead of dwelling on the past.
“Although I was really self conscious of how I ate in front of people or how far behind in school I was, I was still trying to look on the bright side,” Long said. “I look back at it as something that I was able to overcome. It was one of the hardest things in my life, so I know if I can get through that, I can get through anything.”
He decided to stick with band.
“I have always loved music,” Long said. “Music has always been in my family. I knew that if I was to quit band, that I would feel like I wouldn’t really have a sense of belonging in high school. Instead of quitting, I was able to join the percussion section, and I have loved it ever since.”