The inevitability of sport is dealing with injury, pain, and weakness. In my almost 35 years (not quite there yet) I have had my fair share of injury due to pure happenstance and stupidity. If you’re an active person, injury can not only cause a loss in fitness but a loss in your mental state as well so a quick recovery is vital. Bouncing back from injury starts with decoding whether you are hurt or injured, a second opinion, and scaling for results.
Whenever I try to decide if I am hurt or injured, I think back to the movie “The Program” from the 1990’s and remember Lattimire putting the screws to Darnell Jefferson (Omar Epps). There was an exchange between Jefferson and Coach Winters (James Caan):
Winters: You injured, Jefferson, or just hurt?
Jefferson: What do you mean?
Winters: If you’re hurt, you can still play. If you’re injured you can’t. Are you hurt or are you injured?
Jefferson: I think I’m just hurt.
Winters: O.k. get up then
Learning to differentiate between these two differences can save a person a lot of time and heartache. Sometimes a person just needs to get up and knock the sand out of his or her [insert expletive]…other times it is absolutely legitimate. The line between toughness and dull-wittedness is thin and indistinct, occasionally one needs to take a step back and talk to someone. In comes a coach for better and possibly worse. A coach is there to guide your personal goals and protect you from yourself, if need be. If you have a coach which considers injury to only be a bone sticking out of the skin, you need a new coach. On the other hand, if your coach only deals with you wearing “kid gloves,” you may also need a new coach. Omnipotence (all-powerfulness) is reserved for only a few, if you do CrossFit it may be God and/or Greg Glassman. If you’re into power lifting, maybe it is Louie Simmons. However, if you’re in a CF Box- it is not that coach! Open your eyes! Your coach is not all knowing. I have learned a few tricks in my youth and the military:
1. If you act like you know what you are doing people will think you know what you are doing.
2. A clipboard gives you authority (that may be a personal post in the future).
Point one is great until you are messing with health and wellness, so it is ill advised for coaches. If you are a coach who imagines to be all-knowing I am calling you an idiot. Go ahead and email me firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me I am wrong, Point Two, just try it (the clipboard) I promise, it works.
A good coach will understand when he or she is out of his or her depth and give you a proper course of action. A good gym will have a network of professionals to rely on, just like a respectable chiropractor will know a worthy orthopedic. For a coach, it is not always what they know but who they know and his or her ability to guide an athlete in the right direction to start dealing with the injury to expedite healing. Once a diagnosis is made and a course for healing is set, an athlete needs to sit down with his or her coach and discuss options.
I have found, with guidelines, scaling a workout for skill is easy and so is scaling for injury. I will kick the horse one more time; if a coach does not have the ability to think creatively, find a new coach. It is advisable to speak with a subject matter expert, most likely the professional you sought due to the injury, to make sure the coach is not off base on his or her scales. Why? See point one a few paragraphs up. They may not have the slightest clue on what they are doing.
Injuries happen. During any sport or at random moments in life, like putting your clothes away (Justin W.). What will set you apart is how you react to them. What will set your gym and your coach apart is how they react to these injuries. The first order of business is to decide if you are hurt or injured. If you are hurt, pick yourself up and stop being a [insert word], if it is an injury, find the help needed to speed up recovery and realize, sometimes, that help is not always your coach.
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