Updated: Feb 9, 2021
This is something that is hits close to home for me. During my time playing high level rugby, injury was always lurking, waiting to get ya. You always think it will happen to someone else. That is until it decides your time has come!
It wasn't even during a game for me either, which was probably the most annoying part. We were practicing lineouts and all of a sudden I felt a twinge in my lower back. Aaaand that was it. Bulging disc, game over (or training over?).
I was super frustrated with it happening and thought it was the end of the world for a couple of days.
Ever knowledgeable and wise, I learned that it was most definitely not the end of the world. Life goes on and new doors open up! I also learned a few things from the experience and thought I’d share them with everyone. So, if you are currently injured or have suffered a bad one in the past - have a read of 5 things I have found out through my experience.
1. Accept it! It’s happened. As much as you say “I could have done this better” or the like, you can’t change what’s happened. Accepting the fact that you need to take time off to recover is hard but necessary.
2. Denial... Only kidding. Think of the long run. Depending on the injury and it’s severity - what’s 4 weeks or even 6 months to a couple of years in the long scheme of things? You have your entire life to lift things or run around. Rehab now to live later.
3. A staple answer that works for most top 5s - be patient. Just because your symptoms or pain has gone, doesn’t mean the injury or the root of the injury has, too. This is the mistake I made - trying to jump back into full time rugby after 3/4 weeks off when my pain had reduced. All this accomplished was making the recovery process 10x longer. Once you feel up to it - focus on things that will benefit YOUR injury. Core stability, movement patterns, muscle imbalances, etc. Not some generic stretch or putting yourself in a bowl of rice.
4. Think of the silver linings! I know it’s hard, injury sucks. BUT, maybe now you have time to reflect on WHY this happened - what have you been skipping out on? Has your technique REALLY been spot on? Maybe you might even have more time to focus on you and your goals outside of the gym/sport.
5. Most importantly - CHILL. OUT. Like I said before - injury is not the end of the world. With proper rehab and recovery, you’ll be back in action before you know it. Strength and fitness can come back very quickly with proper training. You might even come out of it a more rounded, wiser athlete! All dwelling on the negatives will do is increase feelings of anxiety and your mental health will suffer. Instead, speak to people (a great, wise, knowledgeable - not to mention handsome - coach for example?) that have been there and experienced what you are going through and how they have dealt with it. They will be able to relate to you and your current/past problems and let you know how they dealt with or are still dealing with their own.
Saying all of that, have you tried putting yourself in rice?