Melissa Hassman’s junior year at Northwestern started a bit different than she had planned with a trip to the hospital.
“I put my hand up to my head, and when I took it away, there was blood all over it,” Hassman said.
On her way to Clash of the Classes, Hussman was struck by a disc thrown by senior John Hellinga while he was playing disc golf. Hellinga was near DeVries Cottage when he threw, aiming for the lamppost near Ramaker Library’s northwest corner which is hole nine on the unofficial disc golf course on campus.
Hellinga estimated that the disc flew about 30 yards before colliding with Hassman, who was walking with wingmates along the road between Stegenga Hall and Christ Chapel.
“It was kind of like in the movies when things slow down, and I had an ‘Oh, dear Lord’ moment,” Hellinga said.
Hellinga immediately ran to Hassman to check on her, then to West Hall to get a first aid kit. During Hellinga’s absence, a student who witnessed the incident went to get Tina Jansen, help desk manager at Computing Services, who arrived on the scene to assist Hassman.
While Hassman was treated in the emergency room, Hellinga went downtown to buy flowers for her as an apology. When he arrived, the flower shop was closed, but after knocking on the store windows and following an alley to the back door, a florist inside let him in and made him a bouquet to give to Hassman.
Hellinga dropped off the flowers in Hassman’s dorm room for her to find when she returned.
At the hospital, Hassman received four stitches. She was also tested for a concussion. The results were negative.
Later that night, after Hassman returned to NW, Hellinga visited her in her dorm room and offered to take her out to dinner the following week.
“I felt absolutely awful,” Hellinga said. “I sent her to the hospital, and she missed the slime fight. And I’m pretty sure it hurt pretty bad, too.”
However, Hassman has no hard feelings.
“My bangs cover it, so it was a good place to hit me, I guess,” Hassman said. “I use it as a joke. I tell my friends that if they want to be taken out to dinner, all they have to do is just get hit with a Frisbee!”
Hellinga’s friends have also taken advantage of the opportunity to make jokes.
“They’ll pretend to hit people with Frisbees and say, ‘Well, guess I have to take you out to dinner now,’” Hellinga said.
Despite the incident, Hellinga has not been scared off from disc golf.
“The first time I played after hitting Melissa, I was a little hesitant,” he said, “but then I thought, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll get another date out of this game.’”
Hassman, whose wound is now mostly healed, plans on being more careful around disc golfers in the future.
“Now when I see people playing disc golf,” Hassman said. “I’ll be a little more cautious, or go to the other side of the street.”