Making a come back after injury - ACL
This is a world I'm unfortunately familiar with. Being a person who relies on sport and fitness to keep me sane I knew it was going to be a hard road to travel. Little did I know how much this was going to test me.
I was sitting in the specialists office when he told me I had completely ruptured my ACL. I was thinking at this point, this is no big deal 3-6 weeks and I will be back to sparring. I'll just focus on strength and conditioning for a couple of weeks. After all I was used to bruises, concussion, sprains and strains.
Well after surgery, 4 months off work, 9 months of intense rehab and 1 year without sparring, I can say I'm finally back to the point I should be.
I didn't know something so small was such a big deal, unfortunately as its the ligament that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone I no longer had stability in my joint, and kept falling over. No I wasn't drunk.
I went from training 6 days a week 2 hours a day, to not being able to shower without assistance. I completed 2 days of Netflix and chill before I had to do something. So I went back to the gym, with my crutches and started boxing seated for an hour each day. Its a lot harder to do seated than you think.
I was completely frustrated, after the first few weeks the swelling had gone and I felt like I was back to normal. However the graft was going to take some time to strengthen and grow. As they had used my hamstring, this was the first thing to be repeatedly strained as I pushed to get back to normal.
My body had learnt to compensate for my recovering knee but after so long out of training my boxing technique needed more work than I had hoped. I had managed to pick up some bad habits repeatedly doing bag work and I felt I was worse than when I had started.
I admit it would have been a lot easier to do something less challenging and take up another sport. However thats not in my fighting spirit. Sport is just as much a mental game as it is physical.
It is in these moments we find a new version of ourselves.
Heres what I did to help keep me focused and make sure I didn't give up;
- Set goals, no more than weekly. You will see progress if you put in the work on rehabilitation.
- If you need physical exercise to function normally and the physiotherapy exercises don't cut it, a great piece of equipment is the Airdyne bike. I just used my arms and completed intervals to get my heart rate up. You can use you legs if you have an upper body injury.
- Stock yourself up with resistance bands. These will help aid you in getting additional movement. Your physio will advise you on this.
- Eat good nutritious food. When you cant exercise like you used to and start putting on some kilos, you start to eat crap food. Then you start this horrible cycle of eating crap food because you feel crap and then you make it worse by eating more crap food. We've all done it.
- Motivational podcasts are great, sometimes you need to get things into prospective. Their are people who have been through extraordinary challenges in life that will give you a new view point on you situation.
- Remember with the right mindset you can do extraordinary things.