Back in the Game (persevering through injuries)

There are so many quotes that float around to illustrate that hardships actually mold you into a better person: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; The harder you fall, the higher you bounce! You can only go up from here… What is probably true is that most people, in those moments of despair or hardship, are not looking for a quote to get them through. A lot of people find themselves buried in frustration, anger, loneliness and sadness during these rough patches life likes to throw at us. To be a little more specific, I’m talking about dealing with an injury and growing from it.

Injuries are a part of life. From an early age, you scrape your knee or bump your head and it hurts, but then you heal and get over it. As we get older, the injuries we experience vary in severity, depending on our activity level, health and fitness. What doesn’t change is that most injuries suck. Whether you roll your ankle running a race (hi, bruised ego!), hit your chin on a pull-up bar (we’ve all been there!) or tear your ACL, it’s a bummer. Nobody likes to be in agony and confront the fact that they are human and suffer from setbacks. 

To backtrack for a moment, I will share a bit of my injury story. I tore my ACL (and meniscus) weightlifting in the gym last fall. It was a complete accident and could have happened to anyone. In CrossFit, like in any sport, you will sustain injuries from time to time. What happened in the weeks following my surgery completely changed my life. I was distraught from the pain, the lack of independence, and decrease in activity level I was used to. I had some dark days where I thought I wouldn’t recover and the frustration of codependence gnawed at my heart. I shut out my friends, closed the blinds, and wallowed in my despair. After a month or two of poor rehabilitation efforts that forced me into painful positions, I finally got some good help. I also saw a sports psychologist to talk through some of the issues I was dealing with. Turns out, injuries sometimes uncover weird, lost spaces in your mind and your heart. I had to totally rethink how I saw myself healing, and once I did, I found myself back in the gym. I coached sitting down, I modified workouts to be just upper body/core focused and I found myself loving the challenge of how I can move my body within my limitations. 

What I hope for anyone out there who suffers from an injury is that you will change your approach in the future. Instead of fighting your body and wishing it would heal faster so you can get back to normalcy, expand your mind to accept the injury, and work the muscles you can so that you can bounce back stronger. Utilize your support system around you and find ways to work around your injury, not against it.

Liz Moran, Coach, JCFit

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