Posts Tagged sports injuries

Blood On The Court

Yesterday after I slammed my head into the squash court wall, there was enough blood on the floor and in my cupped hand that I wondered if I had a concussion or was going to need stitches for the ¾ inch gash above my right eye.

Later while watching the Olympics, I grimaced during the three crashes I saw in the women’s downhill ski competition. And Lindsay Vonn won a gold medal in that event in spite of her pained shin, her almost-ripped-off thumb.

This morning I read about a snowboard athlete, Kevin Pearce, who wiped out in training and is in rehab learning how to walk again. Shaun White (gold medal snowboarder) has experienced a list of injuries from his sport that makes one pity his mother: He fractured his skull, broke his right hand and right foot and was knocked unconscious—all by age 11.

Now that I follow professional athletes—or even the amateurs I know—we are all getting injured all the time. It comes with the territory. But I lived for decades without messing up my body. I didn’t have broken anything, much less limps, bruises and aches. Can any of you who play sports imagine such a pain-free existence?

I can’t any longer. Though I am not taking the extreme risks of the pros, who might die or be permanently disabled from their passion to play and excel. I still can’t grasp those rock climbers who fall to their deaths with one slip of the finger. Unimaginable.

In an article about the dangers of Olympic winter sports, I read that Statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission make clear just how dangerous winter sports can be and not just for Olympians: 139,332 Americans were injured while skiing in 2007 and even more, 164,002, got hurt while snowboarding that year. And when looking at all winter-sport injuries, including sledding, snowmobiling and ice skating, 10 percent involved a head injury.

Why do we all do it, to whatever degree? Read the rest of this entry »

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Getting Better At Something When Others Get Worse

So in spite of a sore arm and wrist, my frequent tennis playing has improved my performance. I am still frustrated with poor shots, but there are now many more better ones. And by watching the lessons on the Tennis Channel—which finally arrived in my little rural town that was the very last one in the state to have cable offered at all—my serve has become more powerful and directed as well.

This is not just my opinion. In the last 10 days, four different people from much better doubles games have asked me to sub for them or someone in their group. This is a big deal. Only a month ago, when I heard that a member of one strong game was going to Florida for the winter, and I offered to fill in, I was told that “We’re not sure.” “I’m not in charge.” Etc, etc. It was polite evasion that really meant: “You’re not good enough for us. We want to find a better substitute.”

Now that same diplomat is asking me to play for him. And I feel honored. This is a breakthrough. Other people at the courts are getting the same impression, and suddenly a number of more advanced players are approaching me. I have made a certain cut. I am now “good enough” to try out with these guys. And some are already inviting me back for additional substitutions.

I told a friend how pleased I was that I was improving. He said that he was in the decline phase of his performance. He has been playing sports so vigorously for so many decades that although under 60, his body is wearing out, he hurts when he plays, and his tennis game is now getting worse. And knowing that he can’t improve, he feels his cavorting on the court is over. He’s turned to golf, where he can learn a new sport and enjoy progress and satisfaction. At tennis, he experiences decline, frustration and disappointment. It’s too upsetting to not be able to hit like he used to, place a shot where he wants it to go, make serves that are whammers instead of wussers.

I understand where my friend is at. Life is fragile. So are our bodies. This can be the exceptional case in which “if you use ’em, you may lose ’em.” A 74-year-old was walking around the court yesterday to warm up before our doubles game started. (I jog around the court twice to loosen my joints.) He said after the match that his aching Achilles heel prevented him from chasing after some balls. Later I received a phone call informing me that the pain intensified, and he will be out of action for months.

It’s obvious that if you leave the couch potato sofa and shake your booty a bit, you have a bigger chance of injury…though a lesser chance of heart attack from poor circulation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Injury and Laziness Set Me Back Big Time!

Haven’t been to the gym since July 30th. What the hell happened? Where is all that discipline that others are resenting (see post on August 17)? How could I go at least six times a month for two years—and eight times a month since I started this site—and give it all up so completely?

Here are my excuses. I strained so hard setting new records for chin ups and pull ups, that I hurt my shoulders, forearms and right elbow. The tennis and squash that followed probably didn’t help. But I played through the aching. I needed to stay away from the machines and weights in the gym to recuperate. However I still could have done my crunches. Yet I didn’t. After just three days of them in two weeks, I stopped.

Traveling eight days and having visitors and events at the house another four may have kept me from the gym. But crunches take less than half an hour. So there is no excuse. Just laziness.

Saw the doctor and am now wearing a tennis-elbow, velcro wrap. Read the rest of this entry »

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