What I Know About Sports Injuries

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What I Know About Sports Injuries

I’m supposed to be on the surf trip of a lifetime right now.

I’ve been planning it for ages.  It’s an off-the-beaten-track point break in Central America.  The wave is fairly long with a really bashable lip and a nice channel for paddling back out. It’s the kind of wave that can really propel a girl’s surfing to the next level.

But instead of being in wave paradise, I’m actually lying on the floor with a bag of ice against my neck and tears rolling down my face. Ok—the tears bit isn’t true, but I’ve definitely got a strained neck and can’t surf for a while. The worst part is—I hurt my neck WHILE BRUSHING MY HAIR!!  Admittedly, I do have a rather tangled frazzled mop, but it’s a bit embarrassing…

I have been an injured athlete before and have learned a thing or two about rehab and bouncing back.

  • The human body has an amazing capacity to heal itself, but only if you let it.  This means patience, resting, and taking it slow.  Trust in your body’s power to heal.
  • There is more to life than surfing, or hitting a tennis ball, or whatever sport it is that you are addicted to. This is a good time to focus your energy on other projects. Today—I videoed my friends surfing (earning lots of brownie points), taught kids to surf, pitched a few magazine articles, and finally fixed the downstairs loo, which has been broken for over a year.
  • Find out as much information as you can about your injury. Speak to physiotherapists and other professionals. Research your injury on the internet. And— you know those really boring exercises the therapists give you? Do them!
  • Now’s the time for a bit of root-cause analysis. Are you under too much stress? What’s your posture like? Are you spending hours hunched over a computer? Are you stretching?
  • The comeback can be really sweet! It can feel like being reunited with an old lover. No more taking for granted or feeling burnt out. Once, I busted my knee surfing and couldn’t surf for six weeks. I built up my quads, performed mind numbingly boring stretches, stood on a bosu ball for hours, and discovered a love for slacklining. When I returned, I felt a new power in my legs and was surfing much better than before.
  • In Costa Rica they sell really good painkillers that give me really good dreams. Last night I dreamt I was on a boat trip in the Mentawais with Dave Rastovich and Kelly Slater. So while I wasn’t out there killing it, I sort of took my dream trip after all.


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