It doesn’t matter whether you run, swim, kick, lift, box, throw or wrestle, injuries can be debilitating and infuriating when your goal is to get back to training as quickly as possible.
Injured athletes tend to go through a modified Kubler-Ross five stages of grief; firstly denial, then acceptance, followed by anger, depression and finally bargaining.
To give you an example, a friend of mine snapped his Achilles Tendon dancing at a wedding yet managed to hobble around for three days with a massively swollen leg in complete denial of his injury.
It may have been mildly amusing for his mates to watch him fall off a jet ski while attempting to mount it, but it did at least force him to face the inevitable truth and accept the severity of his injury.
We may eventually accept something, but it doesn’t mean we’re always happy about it. Anger and frustration can bubble up during lengthy recovery periods, especially if an injury is the result of our own foolishness.
Anger while often loud, can quickly fizzle out and turn into a depressive state where nothing much gets done. For my mate, this was thankfully short lived before he finally faced the music and got checked out by a professional.
Which brings us to bargaining! It never ceases to amaze me as a coach how an enthusiastic student with a massively swollen knee can ask “soooo can I still roll tonight?” Most people ‘get’ you’ll be out of action for six weeks or more if you break a bone in your leg but many struggle to appreciate similar rules often apply for damaged joints, tendons, muscles or ligaments.
What you need to consider when recovering from your injury
Knowing if you're ready to get back on the mat is challenging but super important if you hope to be training for years to come. Stressing injured body parts too vigorously risks damaging healing tissue and further delaying recovery so it's always best to have your injury assessed by a suitably qualified professional and get the all clear before gradually returning to training.
Your body will thank you later (trust me I'm a physio).
Director/ Head Coach, SBG Australia
Practice Principal, Leichhardt Sports Physiotherapy