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Taking Back Sunday Drummer Copes with Back Injury

Taking Back Sunday drummer Mark O’Connell still isn’t exactly sure what went wrong. After a show in Phoenix in August, he simply stopped being able to walk.

“I got off the bus and it just hit me and I fell to the ground,” O’Connell said. “The guys were like, ‘What are you doing? That’s not funny.’ And I was like, ‘I can’t move.’ They kept saying, ‘Get up, you’re fine’ and they got me into the hotel lobby and I sat on the couch. … I crawled on the floor through the lobby and onto the elevator to my room. I thought in the morning it would be fine. I got up the next day and I just fell in the bathroom. I was sitting on the bathroom floor in tears.”
That’s when O’Connell was taken to the emergency room and learned he had a herniated disc in his back. Doctors ordered him off the tour and confined him to bed rest.

Aside from his Aug. 15 appearance for TBS’ set at Jones Beach, which O’Connell was able to make only after doctors injected steroids directly into his spine, he couldn’t do anything but rest at his Long Beach home for weeks.

“It was a lot of just sitting around,” said O’Connell, who eventually had to have the disc removed. “I was on painkillers for a long time and I was so worried I might get addicted.”

These days, O’Connell said he is feeling about “90 percent” and is thrilled about playing again. “We’ve written six new songs and they’re all awesome,” O’Connell said, adding that the band hopes to hit the studio by the summer. “It’s like we have a new life. … The energy that we have when we play is like the old Taking Back Sunday.”    

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