Every athlete in any sport has experienced an injury or will go through some type of injury one day in their career. Sometimes it can be a serious injury and other times it can be minor, but all types of injuries worry the athletes. When you are a professional athlete and a training routine is part of your day to day life, it is difficult to go through a new routine of recuperation and the limitations that an injury has!
I can say all of this because I have personally been through 2 serious injuries throughout my career. My first serious injury happened in October of 2009. I ripped all of my ligaments in my right elbow, during training and I needed a difficult operation to reconnect all of the ligaments in that area. I passed through 4 months of recuperation and I can say that I overcame all of the difficulties and I was able to transform the difficult period into determination to come back more focused and with this I had even better results, even after the injury.
Now, I am recovering from my second serious injury in my career. In November of 2011, I needed an emergency surgery done on my spinal cord. I had a hernia that was compressing a few nerves and because of this I was forced to stop training again. It has already passed 5 months and only now have I started training again, but I know better than anyone that everything I was doing in those 5 months would help me come back to training and the competitions.
When you get a serious injury, you encounter many difficulties and challenges that you must overcome. The first challenge and, in my opinion, the biggest is your head! On the psychological side, it is very important for you to overcome your injury. First, first you need to accept what has happened and do everything you can to find as much information possible, so you can find the best treatment and start right away. In my case, I got hurt in the best phase of my career and because of this I was not able to compete in all of the principal tournaments of the year, since they end in June, but I am following my daily routine of physical therapy and I am already able to train jiu-jitsu. I feel that soon my body will be ready to come back to my day to day hard training, but I am certain that my psychological side is a lot stronger than it was before.
In our lives we are used to only valorizing things after we lose them and when you have a serious injury and feel the dangers of never being able to do the sport that you love, you see how we don’t appreciate all the days that we are able to go to the jiu-jitsu academy, the gym and work out, and even the competitions. We need to be grateful for all of the days that we are healthy and are able to do what we love.
After so many injuries in my life, I have already stopped to ask myself, “why does this happen to me? Why do I have to go through this? Why during the best moments of my life I have to stop everything and simply think of taking care of me?” Honestly, I don’t know the answer. But I know that everything I went through made me understand that we need to react, have faith in God and have determination so we can do what the doctors and physical therapist tell us to.
There is no magic formula to get back to training any faster. My advice would be to always have faith in God, to have a doctor that you trust, push yourself to the maximum towards your recuperation, don’t miss physical therapy or try to skip steps. Each step is very important for your final recuperation. Don’t let bad things get in your head. You will not be able to do anything if you are depressed or if you are giving up on yourself. Always have your mind strong because when your mind is ready, your body with follow you.
Remember when you are face to face with a situation of an injury in your life, don’t run away or hide it. Remember that we are fighters and we need to confront this new adversary that has appeared, just that now we will not fight for one more medal or recognition, ego or honor, but for the simple reason to continue living.