Injuries suck. There's not much more to say. One day you're with your friends, no thoughts, head empty, and the next you're lost. An open sea, and an empty horizon greets you. You can hear sea shanties in the distance, but it's a siren's song. You must stay away. Recovering from injury feels like treading water.
I broke my knee just over a month ago. I've been injured a fair number of times throughout my life, so I'd like to think I know how to handle it. I'd always bounce back, or be distracted by another pursuit. This time, it feels different. I know what I want to be doing, and my injury is consuming.
After some time away from playing Ultimate, I was anxious to play again. Excited, eager, restless. I decided I would go all out for a play, and I got the play. In getting the D, I lost my ability to walk for two weeks. Right before tryouts for Portland's Professional Ultimate Team, the Nitro. Then, adding insult to injury, I got sick.
When tryouts came, I played my heart out. My knee stung to the touch, but that wasn't going to stop me from laying out and hustling. I made practice squad. I'd like to say “that's pretty good for going to ¼ tryout days.” But I'd like to say that I made the roster even more.
I kept playing after tryouts. The stinging became normal, and I stopped noticing it. Your body has a way of getting your attention, if not now than eventually. After playing two hours of frisbee, my leg locked up. I couldn't walk. I couldn't get in a car without crying out. I broke my kneecap, and I couldn't deny it anymore.
It's been awful. I've missed out on being a practice player, connecting with my community in my usual way, and getting exercise. I feel like a bit of a bum, in all honesty. I'm worried that I've invested so much time into a null pursuit, and I am anxious to prove myself wrong. There's combat in my mind: acceptance and hustle, rest and recovery. I'm still learning how to join what I have been brought up to believe are antithetical.
Now, I am coping by journalling, constantly overdoing it or underdoing it, and hoping dearly for a miraculous recovery. It's hard to take responsibility for windfalls, good or bad. But my biggest respite has been coaching.
I think not being able to move quickly has made me more conscious of instruction, and of being decisive. It's brought up fears of inadequacy, moments of confidence, and pride in myself and the kids I am teaching.
Still, I see these positives as coping. If I could change everything, I would like to get out and play. Perhaps I do enjoy leadership more than being at the bottom of the ladder, but I never want to be caught without something to give to my kids. If I am to teach well, I must be learning. So let's get back on our feet.
As I research this topic, I feel struck by just how commonplace my experience is. Some common causes for prolonged recovery times include, but are not limited to, inadequate rest and rehab, poor nutrition and hydration, and the psychological toll. In my own experience, I feel the anxiety to return to play, and I have been impatient. I have struggled with motivation to eat well, and my hydration habits have suffered. And quite frankly, I am depressed. I said it before and will say it again: injuries suck.
## What now?
I will cover each of the three hindrances mentioned above, and I will give a basic understanding of each.
### What is Adequate Rest and Rehab?
The first step to knowing what to do is to know what is wrong. If you don't trust doctors, and have been more or less scammed by urgent care too many times now, I understand. Ask your friends, ask your family, and stay within your trust. If you have good insurance, great. You might actually be able to afford specialized physical therapy in this economy. If not, don't worry; online resources are plentiful, and as long as you're doing something for it you're doing better than nothing (unless there's pain. That's usually a bad sign.)
Return-to-play protocol: progressive programs designed to reintroduce an athlete to play with minimal risk of reinjury
The term Return-to-play protocol is not something I've heard of before, and I think that's a shame. In a nutshell, it's a thoughtfully designed plan to get you back to being game ready.
There are four steps:
1. Injury Management: you're hurting, and the goal is to stop hurting.
2. Return to activity: Range of Motion, light cardio, and gentle strengthening.
3. Sport-Specific: Agility, balance, coordination. Do what you want to be doing in a controlled, low intensity way.
4. Testing and Clearance. S.T.A.R.T. when you're ready. Strength Testing And Recovery Transition is crucial to making the decision to step back on the field. You'll be confident when you're cleared.
5. Full return. Focusing on technique and body awareness, return to play gradually.
With a thoughtful implementation of these steps, even my dumb ass can figure out how to take care of myself.
Homework: Create a plan for each of the above steps that is specific to your own injury.
### Nutrition and Hydration
I'm gonna let the AI do this one: headlines and AI generated Images for the steps to proper nutrition.
Powerhouse Foods: Wholesome Grains, Vibrant Veggies, Lean Protein
Mighty Muscles: Fuel Repair with Diverse Proteins
Soothe Inflammation: Berries, Greens, Nuts, and Fish
Energize Recovery: Complex Carbs for Sustained Power
Quench Thirst, Boost Healing: Stay Hydrated Daily
Mighty Micros: Vital Vitamins, Minerals for Recovery
Optimize Repair: Post-Workout Protein and Carbs Combo
Right now, I am no expert on this. I am doing the best I can, and often that means risking being a Debbie downers by just being honest with my friends and close ones. [There's a great Simon Sinek podcast that may strike home for you, give it a listen if you have the desire.](https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj_u6_dwuz9AhXcIUQIHSvyD5kQwqsBegQIChAF&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DD46zvJI-njU&usg=AOvVaw1GvMd96k1Wl97CydoQKNGt)
## Sending love.