Flex Those Carbon Arrows!

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In the spring of 2007 I was the unfortunate recipient of an injury cause by a damaged carbon arrow that shattered on release of the arrow. I was in the yard going to take a few practice shots before dinner and the second arrow is the one that did the damage.  That day will forever be burned in my mind.  After I release what happened I made mistake #2 I pulled the tail shaft of the arrow out of my hand causing more damage. 

Thank goodness that my wife was home and was able to rush me to the ER.  I spent about 10 minutes in the waiting room thankfully they were not busy.  Then I proceeded to spend the next two hours in the back while they took x-rays and pumped me full of pain killers, which did not help at all.  After determination that I needed surgery as you could see part of the arrow in my hand with your bare eyes (carbon does not show up on an x-ray).  I then went into surgery for 3 hours and when I came out the surgeon told my wife that she removed 100's of pieces and fibers from my and had to stop as my hand was in too much trauma and shock to continue.  When I awoke I would have what we dubbed "a club" for a left hand. 

I would be drugged up for the next 3 days unable to really do anything.  Two weeks later I was able to get the "club" taken off, but little did I know that was only the beginning.  Started therapy right away and could not do anything with my hand for the 1st month of therapy.  16 weeks after the injury I developed alot of pain in the palm of my hand, they removed a 2" long piece of the arrow shell from my palm. 

From that day forward I made leaps and bounds on my recovery.  Two months later I was shooting the bow again, aluminum arrows of course.  I have since moved back to carbon/aluminum arrows but I check all my arrows religiously.  Between the painful injury, even more painful recovery and the high doctor bills (thank goodness for insurance).  This is something that I would not to see anyone go thru.  I have attached a few photos of the "club" and my hand after I got the club off.  Pictures do not do much justice as my hand was swollen twice the size of normal.  I have what I would call a 95% recovery. I still have some nerve damage in my thumb, feels like its asleep, but there is nothing that I cannot do. 

So my tip to all you bow hunters and target shooters out there.



deerhunter30's picture

Wow! I have always heard

Wow! I have always heard about carbon arrows shatterring but never have I ever seen it. I shoot carbon arrows myself and I am glad I came across the article because now I think I will be checking my arrows everytime I go shooting my bow. THANK YOU!

hunter25's picture

Thanks for the tip and

Thanks for the tip and advice. I am starting a plan to get back into archery and was not aware something like this could happen.

I will take extra precaution with my gear and learn all I can. Anything we can prevent is a blessing.

groovy mike's picture

Thanks for the warning

Yikes!  Thanks for the warning!  I'm sorry to hear that you went through that but I appreciate the chance to learn from your experience and prevent it from happening from anyone else.

I'm guessing that when you say to flex your arrows we should be looking for signs that they are weak.  If an arrow has already started to splinter we shoudl of course discard it.  What about a cracked shaft should those be tossed too?  I don't archery hunt so the bow and arrow experience that I have is all just back yard fun.  The bows are way under hunting weight but I don't want my kids to be in danger of receiving an injury like yours.  Shoudl I toss all the old arrows that show any signs of splits or cracks?  Should I convery to aluiminum only shafts for the kiddos' safety's sake?

numbnutz's picture

Sorry you had to go thru

Sorry you had to go thru that, great tip though

Critter's picture

I learned about that by

I learned about that by shooting cedar shafts from my longbow.  It is funny at how far we have come in technology in arrows.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Great tip. Hopefully everyone

Great tip. Hopefully everyone will read this and learn what to do.

Great safety tip thanks for

Great safety tip thanks for sharing and sorry you had the back luck

groundhog's picture


Just the other day I was looking at my arrows and seen when I was shooting my broad heads that I split a shaft so now I’m really taking a closer look!