Only hours before, I had been a healthy 17-year old student at a high school football game. One moment I was simply an innocent bystander, and the next I became collateral damage as a violent fight broke out after the game and a 38-caliber bullet ripped through my throat, lodging in my shoulder. Nearly unconscious at the time, I still can vividly see the expressions on the faces of the many people trying to help me that day. The chaos around me in the trauma bay filled me both with fear and awe – fear that I might die and awe at the fearless purpose of the medical personnel fighting to save my life. It turns out the worst moment of my life was also the most impactful because it inspired me to go onto a career in medicine, become a trauma surgeon, and to work at the intersection of medicine, public health, and public policy to prevent these injuries from happening in the first place.