Broken but unbowed, Bing and Urbana brace for 4A title game

By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 3, 2010; 12:19 AM

Aaron Bing spent Monday morning in a doctor's office in Germantown. The broken bone in his right hand (suffered a month earlier) and the broken bone in his right wrist (suffered two weeks earlier) had mostly healed, thanks to the help of a brace. That was the good news. The bad: His broken right thumb, suffered while making a tackle three days earlier, was going to need a cast.

Bing, a senior wide receiver, cornerback and punt returner for fifth-ranked Urbana, was disappointed. Although he insisted he could play all of his positions despite the hard navy blue cast that runs up his forearm, the 6-foot, 170-pounder immediately knew his role likely will be limited to playing only on defense Friday night when the Hawks play sixth-ranked Wise in the Maryland 4A championship game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

"It's my pain and it's not doing any more damage," Bing told his mother, Loretta. "I should have not said anything about it. What would a couple more days [without a cast] have meant?"

After all, Bing reasoned, the pain was minimal - compared to his injuries from this time last year.

Early on Thanksgiving afternoon 2009, Bing and two older siblings left their grandmother's house in Poolesville to buy some soda for the family dinner. One mile into the short trip, things went very wrong.

Blake Bing, then 18, was driving his mother's white 2006 GMC Envoy when he came around a sharp curve on Jerusalem Road - nearly the same spot when his sister, Lauren, then 22, had wrecked her car two years earlier. A car was parked along the right side of the slick, muddy two-lane road without a shoulder. He cannot remember exactly what happened, but Blake figured he either hit the brakes and slid or swerved and over-corrected. All of a sudden, the Envoy was sliding down an embankment and smashing into a tree. An insurance company investigation showed that Blake was driving 32 mph at the time of the crash, though Lauren said he was not going that fast.

Blake and Lauren walked away without injury. Aaron, though, had been seated behind the driver's seat and the impact with the tree had almost destroyed the roof of the car, driving it into where Aaron had been sitting. With the help of a passerby, Blake climbed on top of the car and pulled off the door so that Aaron could be taken out of the vehicle.

Two hours earlier, he had been at basketball practice. Now, Aaron Bing had 10 broken ribs, two punctured and collapsed lungs and tears in his liver and stomach, resulting in internal bleeding.

An ambulance took Aaron to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. There were tubes everywhere, it seemed. Doctors told Loretta and Shawn Bing that the third of their four children had multiple life-threatening injuries. They said there appeared to be some bleeding on the brain, and they prepared for emergency surgery.

"I knew we were in trouble when the nurse and doctor came out to us and the nurse had tears in her eyes," Loretta Bing said.

The operation went as well as possible. Aaron was kept in a coma for 48 hours as doctors waited to see how his body responded. After waking up, he soon asked for a pen and paper and wrote his questions: What happened? How were Blake and Lauren? When could he get back on the basketball court?

Aaron spent six days in intensive care, then returned home. By January, he was back in school, though he lacked stamina and was barely able to get through a full day of classes. By February, he was back on the basketball court, getting a few spare minutes as a reserve guard while the Hawks advanced to the state semifinals for the first time ever. After basketball season ended, he played on the Urbana lacrosse team. Then it was time to get ready for football season.

Under first-year Coach Ryan Hines, Bing has taken advantage of his opportunities. He moved into the starting lineup at wide receiver and safety and has been a standout. On offense, he leads the team with 28 catches for 394 yards. On defense, he has intercepted seven passes, returning four for touchdowns. In last week's 37-6 victory over 14th-ranked Gaithersburg in the state semifinals - after breaking his thumb in the first quarter - Bing had a 40-yard punt return to set up a touchdown.

"If you see the tape, I'm trying to hold onto the ball because I couldn't hold it well because of the thumb - it hurt so bad," Bing said. Coming out of the game, however, "was definitely not an option. If we were to lose that game and I quit, I'd never be able to live with myself."

Now, Bing and his teammates are preparing for one final game together. The Hawks' defense is perhaps the best in the state, and the team has yet to trail in its 12 games.

If Urbana wins, Bing could be in for quite a celebration. Most of the team's other seniors gave each other Mohawk haircuts prior to a game against Thomas Johnson on Oct. 8, Bing put off taking his turn, saying it would have to wait until the week of the state final. When the Hawks beat Gaithersburg last week, Bing said he was not cutting his floppy brown hair unless they won the state title.

"Mama's not letting him get the Mohawk yet because he doesn't have his senior picture yet," Loretta Bing said.

That picture, the one that nearly never happened, is scheduled for Saturday.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company